By Donald Hall
A storm was coming, that was why it was dark. The wind was blowing the fronds of the palm trees off. They were maples. I looked out the window across the big lawn. The house was huge, full of children and old people. The lion was loose. Either because of the wind, or by malevolent human energy, which is the same thing, the cage had come open. Suppose a child walked outside!
A child walked outside. I knew that I must protect him from the lion. I threw myself on top of the child. The lion roared over me. In the branches and the bushes there was suddenly a loud crackling. The lion cringed. I looked up and saw that the elephant was loose!
The elephant was taller than the redwoods. He was hairy like a mammoth. His tusks trailed vines. Parrots screeched around his head. His eyes rolled crazily. He trumpeted. The ice-cap was breaking up!
The lion backed off, whining. The boy ran for the house. I covered his retreat, locked all the doors and pulled the bars across them. An old lady tried to open a door to get a better look. I spoke sharply to her, she sat down grumbling and pulled a blanket over her knees.
Out of the window I saw zebras and rattlesnakes and wildebeests and cougars and woodchucks on the lawns and in the tennis courts. I worried how, after the storm, we would put the animals back in their cages, and get to the mainland.
Donald Hall is to be the new US poet laureate; here is The Washington Post coverage, including another poetry excerpt. I am fonder of the poetry of Hall's late wife Jane Kenyon than I am of his, but I will always be grateful to him for his writing about her and the grief of losing her. Also, that poem reminds me a teeny bit of Madagascar, which I watched with the kids while folding laundry in the afternoon, but even more of The Miracle, Neil Jordan's cinematic masterpiece about a traveling circus, the Irish coast and the meaning of life.
School's out for the summer, which, of course, means I had a chaotic day and this is likely to continue for some time. The kids came home happy and I took them to the mall to get my father an iTunes gift card for Father's Day for his new iPod; this proved to be a monumental mistake, for while my father is quite happy with the iPod and iTunes, there was a long wait in the Apple store due to all the high school students who suddenly have nowhere to go but the mall, and the kids had time to discover that the iPod my father has comes loaded with games, including Parachute and some version of Brick and Solitaire. Younger son figured out how to work the controls in three and a half seconds and now wants an iPod of his own. I predict nagging for several years. :p
I got older son a watch, as his strap had torn; apaulled had offered to give him the very good one that my parents got for him in Europe a few years ago (never worn as his own parents had given him the watch that he wears all the time as a graduation present from his MBA program), but son wanted one with a big digital face, a stop-watch, an alarm and all those toys. Since they both had good report cards I also got them one of those brain gym games for their Nintendo DS for in the car on long driving days on our trip, and younger son found a used copy of the GameBoy cat game which he secretly wanted even though it is, in his words, a "girl's" game because it's just like Nintendogs only with cats and he is very attached to our felines. Kids crack me up. We had dinner with my parents, since we are not going to see them on Father's Day as they are going to New York to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary.
Stumbled across Commander In Chief which ABC has apparently now moved from Thursdays to Wednesdays (and they wonder why it couldn't hold an audience); it was actually kind of good, but I may be biased because any episode that talks in such glowing terms about Alice Paul, Betty Friedan and a number of feminists who rarely get their due because they became controversial for one reason or another or just weren't politically correct by modern standards is just fine in my book. And I have probably mentioned this, but I absolutely adore Geena Davis. The show is still so badly done in some ways -- whenever Allen makes an important point it's always scripted to be at some formal event where people are applauding, like we have to be hammered over the head with the idea that yes, this is a good idea and she is a good speaker, in case we didn't believe it ourselves. But given that the subject matter was the ERA and women's ongoing lack of equal treatment under the law, I found it interesting that Sarah Clarke, the actress who played Nina on 24, was the main guest star; there were so many gratuitous butcherings of women during the first season of 24 that I stopped watching it, and I find it ironic that Clarke and Leslie Hope both have had big roles on Commander in Chief playing strong women who stand up to the president and are respected for it rather than treated as a threat to national security, home, family and whatever might count as American values these days.
The Chesapeake Marine Railway and Drydock Company was founded in Kennard's Wharf in 1866 by Isaac Myers, one of very few African American business owners of that era.
This is a reproduction of a painting showing the privateer Surprise capturing the British Star -- one of 43 ships she captured or destroyed in 1814-15. This Surprise was built in St. Michaels and sailed out of Baltimore.
The front of the Fells Point Maritime Museum, on a Baltimore street that used to have salvage shops and now has boutiques.
Am irritated with fandom, again. I need someone to explain to me why a warning for BDSM does not by definition include a warning for D/s, which I have been told must be warned for separately so my multi-chapter fic must be resubmitted in its entirety (like I'm going to take the time to do that). Am also not sure why "post-war" is not sufficient warning for HBP spoilers, after looking at some other recent fic on the same site that is also post-war, deals with the events of the last book yet also does not offer any warning for HBP spoilers...this sort of arbitrary nitpickery doesn't make me want to have fic in that archive anyway!