By Jane Hirshfield
The rat was fat and healthy and equally surprised,
almost insulted. Leaving only because I was larger
but renouncing no claim.
As I, at times, have looked my fate in the face
and acknowledged nothing.
Continued as if I could, as if this life were mine to choose,
and I the unquestioned lord of my basement kingdom
with its single, high, and unwashed corner window.
"The occasion for a poem or its central image is not necessarily its subject," writes Robert Pinsky in Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. "Though the rat in itself [is] self-confident, not quite oblivious...Hirshfield chooses to ask herself when or how she might have behaved as the rat behaves. The creature's assurance ("almost insulted") in his little kingdom is comical, but so, the poet reflects, is her own."
It poured all morning, the end of Tropical Storm Ernesto spitting itself out, so instead of going downtown as we thought we might, we let the kids go to a friend's house and did chores. Then apaulled remembered that we had burned our last Spiced Pumpkin Yankee Candle a couple of days ago and now that we have true gorgeous autumn weather, cool and damp, we needed another, so we went to the Yankee Candle store at Lakeforest Mall where we also picked up Autumn Leaves, Buttercream and my emergency pre-migraine treatment, Fresh Mint. Then we had cinnamon pretzels and I was going to buy new on-sale underwear in JC Penney but after waiting nearly half an hour for the salespeople to get their act together, I threw the underwear on one of the pillows in the bedding department and left.
I love the Halloween stores that pop up in malls between the end of August and the beginning of November. The one in Lakeforest is huge, but I was particularly gratified both by their naughty schoolgirl witch outfit (Hermione's robes with slight variations in tie color, a MUCH lower neckline, a slightly altered Hogwarts crest and a MUCH higher hemline) and by the wide variety of Lord of the Rings costuming, including a $12 plastic Narsil, a $6 Evenstar pendant that looks pretty good from a distance and a selection of Gandalf wigs and beards. I am probably just going to wear my Starfleet uniform, as usual, but I did buy a cheap imitation of Lucius Malfoy's pimp cane, because I'm never spending $100 on the official replica and plastic is good enough for me!
We came home, set up older son's new lava lamp, cleaned up various rooms, did more laundry and watched the pilot episode of Stargate: Atlantis since I was going to put on a later episode but no one in the family had seen the pilot and everyone agreed that if we might end up watching together regularly, we really should start at the beginning, and it wasn't like it was a hardship to watch it again. *g* Then we had dinner and watched the first half of Sharpe's Challenge, which was perhaps not as good as the best of the older Sharpes and not as much fun in some ways, but it is so wonderful to see Sean Bean in that role again and Daragh O'Malley and Hugh Fraser, and Padma Lakshmi (who was once on Enterprise) is incredibly gorgeous, and how can I not love a Sharpe movie with the line "I can't watch your arse if I'm dead, can I?" (not to mention Sharpe answering rude remark in his youth about how he planned to transport things by saying "Bollocks, sir. ...ox-carts.") And then Jagged Edge was on one of the Encore channels, one of my favorite Glenn Close movies (and Jeff Bridges too, he's wonderful in it) and the relationship drama has really held up quite well -- it's so much better than the more famous, excruciating Fatal Attraction -- so I have been watching that until this late hour!
News amusements for the day: tributes to Pluto have continued to pour in -- there are new photos of the solar system scale model marker with additional condolence cards, and information about the fate of the marker here -- plus my uncle linked me to this site -- and there was an AP article on the Smithsonian packing up American History for renovation, noting that Oscar the Grouch may not be happy in his new home in a dark box far from Sesame Street. Oh hey, has anyone read Aberystwyth Mon Amour? I was wondering whether I should read it before going to Wales, as Amazon.co.uk recommends it highly to fans of Jasper Fforde!
We might go downtown tomorrow to see the Crusader castle at National Geographic and the Anselm Keifer exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum. Or we might work harder at cleaning the house, which is never going to be acceptable if we can't get it acceptable for out of town visitors this weekend...