By Simon Armitage
Which reminds me. He appeared
at noon, asking for water. He’d walked from town
after losing his job, leaving me a note for his wife and his brother
and locking his dog in the coal bunker.
We made him a bed
and he slept till Monday.
A week went by and he hung up his coat.
Then a month, and not a stroke of work, a word of thanks,
a farthing of rent or a sign of him leaving.
One evening he mentioned a recipe
for smooth, seedless gooseberry sorbet
but by then I was tired of him: taking pocket money
from my boy at cards, sucking up to my wife and on his last night
sizing up my daughter. He was smoking my pipe
as we stirred his supper.
Where does the hand become the wrist?
Where does the neck become the shoulder? The watershed
and then the weight, whatever turns up and tips us over that
between something and nothing, between
one and the other.
We spent all of Saturday at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire with my husband's parents. It was a very nearly perfect day, though younger son might disagree because he neither won in a raffle nor was allowed to purchase a $100 dragon puppet. (It was romance weekend and apaulled and his father were both given tickets for gifts for their beloveds at the pirate ship armory, meaning that apaulled's mother and I both got sword-shaped letter openers, heh.) I had fish & chips for lunch and a bread bowl with soup for dinner, with an apple dipped in the chocolate fountain and lots of bottled water in between; the kids got smoked turkey legs, in-laws had various meatball and pulled pork sandwiches. I made no major purchases -- a $10 horn-shaped poison necklace and a little book on chivalry with reproductions of lots of paintings I like (the bookstore is in the model church at this faire). There was lots of tempting jewelry but I behaved -- there will be more at the Maryland Renaissance Festival which we probably won't get to for several weeks!
Rather than babble further here, I shall caption some of the photos:
Damian Blade, a sword swallower and contortionist. Here he is demonstrating his deep throating abilities. *g*
The Mud Show. This is supposed to be Antony and Cleopatra, though it bore little resemblance to the play as I remember it (the happy ending was kind of a giveaway) and I suspect that Romeo and Juliet later in the day was pretty similar! Nonetheless it was quite funny and the kids loved it, and despite being in the second row we managed to avoid getting splashed!
Don Juan and Miguel, whom we go to see every year because they are hilarious even when we hit a part of their show we've seen before -- this time around it was the cheesy jokes (literally, all the jokes are puns on the names of cheeses). We finally broke down and bought their DVD so we can watch them in the off-season.
The Battle of Agincourt reenacted! Well, sort of -- there were a lot of gratuitous French women with swords and no actual archers and it was finished with a gunshot, but you get the idea!
And the late afternoon joust. We went to the two o'clock and the six-thirty jousts, the former of which was preceded by an archery demonstration. The battle above was defined as a reenactment for the Queen's amusement as Leicester and Anjou vied for her hand, each represented by a knight in the arena. Because this is the Penn RenFaire, of course it ended with everyone off their horses and fighting dirty in the middle, but it was less silly than previous years and the caliber of the horsemanship seemed improved.
Sunday we are likely going to a local Civil War reenactment -- I think this one is in downtown Hanover. Being so close to Gettysburg, there are often Civil War reenactments going on around here!