The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Friday

The Missing
By Thom Gunn

Now as I watch the progress of the plague,
The friends surrounding me fall sick, grow thin,
and drop away. Bared, is my shape less vague
—Sharply exposed and with a sculpted skin?

I do not like the statue’s chill contour,
Not nowadays. The warmth investing me
Led outward through mind, limb, feeling, and more
In an involved increasing family.

Contact of friend led to another friend
Supple entwinement through the living mass
Which for all that I knew might have no end,
Image of an unlimited embrace.

I do not just feel ease, though comfortable:
Aggressive as in some ideal of sport,
With ceaseless movement thrilling through the whole,
their push kept me as firm as their support.

But death—Their deaths have left me less defined:
It was their pulsing presence made me clear.
I borrowed from it, I was unconfined,
Who tonight balance unsupported here,

Eyes glaring from raw marble, in a pose
Languorously part-buried in the block,
Shins perfect and no calves, as if I froze
Between potential and a finished work.

—Abandoned incomplete, shape of a shape,
In which exact detail shows the more strange,
Trapped in unwholeness, I find no escape
Back to the play of constant give and change.


Went with husband, son and mother to the hotel where the Bar Mitzvah reception is being held to discuss things like placement of the bar and hors d'oeuvres, games, etc. Then the menu came up. Can't discuss this in an unlocked entry because relatives read this as well as unknown strangers, but let's just ask whether people can imagine what someone who micromanages shoes is like where the food is concerned? Ask me sometime about the menu for my sister's wedding, the two tastings and the dueling party planners. With all this investment of time and outrageous expense, I cannot believe the degree to which I cannot enjoy anything beyond hearing my son chant in Hebrew, which he does quite well. Things are not going to be like this for my other son.

Otherwise all I did of note was watch Flightplan, because it seemed like a good night for an airplane terrorist flick and two gratuitous Sean Bean movies in a week is always a good thing. I thought it was a pretty crummy movie apart from Sean and Peter Sarsgaard whom I always find creepy even in, say, Kinsey when he's supposed to be likeable. I'm not a big Jodie Foster fan at the best of times, and since everything about her character felt phony to me, everything about her performance did too. ("Look! I'm having a big dramatic acting scene!") In a movie about a missing child, I'd think I should be able to relate to the mother a bit, but I felt much more for Tom Cruise in Minority Report than I did for Foster in Flightplan. It's always wonderful to see Sean in a movie in which he 1) is not a giant evil villain and 2) is not dead prematurely, and he did a nice job being authoritarian without being a bastard, and since the film was nice and short, the action never flagged. I also recorded The Chumscrubber earlier but since I had kids in the house, couldn't watch it -- I can't pass up a movie with Glenn Close, Jason Isaacs and Ralph Fiennes!

Old Rag, whose granite is the oldest rock in Shenandoah National Park.

And another view from a different stretch from Skyline Drive, as the only way to approach the mountain itself is a day-long hike.

This is one of the views from the summit of Bearfence, which offers spectacular vistas in all directions.

And these are the rocks one must scramble over to get to the summit of Bearfence...a spectacular climb with the potential for seeing lots of wildlife but requiring lots of rock climbing!

Friday afternoon we are going to my sister's in New York for the weekend. Reports from there, with photos of feeding penguins at Mystic Aquarium on Sunday! Trying not to totally freak out about the news, as we have plans to fly to the UK in the spring...don't know what to think at this point, figure I may as well wait. Hope no one was too horribly inconvenienced by all the airport insanity...I'm very glad we are driving this weekend instead of flying. And hope my mother will feed the cats even though I am The Worst Daughter Ever Except For My Sister.

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