The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Wednesday


Ballade
By François Villon
Translated by Galway Kinnell


I die of thirst beside the fountain
I'm hot as fire, I'm shaking tooth on tooth
In my own country I'm in a distant land
Beside the blaze I'm shivering in flames
Naked as a worm, dressed like a president
I laugh in tears and hope in despair
I cheer up in sad hopelessness
I'm joyful and no pleasure's anywhere
I'm powerful and lack all force and strength
Warmly welcomed, always turned away.

I'm sure of nothing but what is uncertain
Find nothing obscure but the obvious
Doubt nothing but the certainties
Knowledge to me is mere accident
I keep winning and remain the loser
At dawn I say "I bid you good night"
Lying down I'm afraid of falling
I'm so rich I haven't a penny
I await an inheritance and am no one's heir
Warmly welcomed, always turned away.

I never work and yet I labor
To acquire goods I don't even want
Kind words irritate me most
He who speaks true deceives me worst
A friend is someone who makes me think
A white swan is a black crow
The people who harm me think they help
Lies and truth today I see they're one
I remember everything, my mind's a blank
Warmly welcomed, always turned away.

Merciful Prince may it please you to know
I understand much and have no wit or learning
I'm biased against all laws impartially
What's next to do? Redeem my pawned goods again!
Warmly welcomed, always turned away.

--------

How did we watch election coverage before Jon Stewart? I remember long nights with Dan Rather and don't know how I put up with that. The Catastronometer made my night, and now I am getting Dan Rather on Comedy Central with Jon, quoting Pink Floyd! It is 11:21 as I start typing this so the content may change over the course of the next hour -- for instance, I can't find any projection currently of whether the South Dakota abortion ban is going to stand (the one article up indicates that the opponents have an early lead, but if that changes, any cheering from me about apparent Democratic victories will be inaudible over the screaming). The majority of voters in South Carolina, Wisconsin and Virginia revolt me and I fear that list will be longer by morning, but at least the news has not called Virginia for Allen yet. And at least Allen's would-be presidential campaign would seem to have been solidly derailed. Now how are we going to get rid of John "Smells Like Bush" McCain? Oops, I've stayed mostly quiet about politics here for so long and I am sure I will have some unfriendings in the morning, but as I've said many times before, if you oppose civil rights issues of enormous importance to me like gay marriage and reproductive freedom, I don't really see how we're going to become friends over fannish fluff.

Much of my day was taken up with watching television -- in the morning, with Russell Crowe, who was on Live with Regis and Kelly and then Ellen, and in the evening with election results (I was forced to watch the local Fox station to get coverage of local races, which was such an unpleasant experience that I am planning to watch Russell cook with Martha Stewart on Thursday with a smile on my face). <russellsquee>Russell told Regis and Kelly that Tenderness was directed by a friend: "The man who played my boyfriend in The Sum of Us, where I played a gay football-playing plumber. So we had history." While Reege sat there stuttering like he didn't quite know what to do with this information, Russell said that John Polson was his first and only screen kiss with a man. He claimed he didn't really enjoy it so he never did it again onscreen, but I was busy being amused that he kept qualifying that it was his only SCREEN kiss with a man. And he brought it up again when reminded that before A Good Year, he hadn't been associated much with romantic comedies: "Since playing the gay football-playing plumber, I haven't done that many." He also talked lots about his cows and organic farming, and a little about New York cops, which was generally quite funny. All the talk show hosts did a vastly better job with Russell than Sixty Minutes.</russellsquee> And people who don't like the Russell squee should focus on the good news that Kevin Federline should be disappearing momentarily!

Anyway, this is where we went today in the afternoon between voting and free tacos at California Tortilla, which were given out to everyone who came in with an "I Voted" sticker:


Rainy late fall leaves on Sugarloaf Mountain.


This is the eastern overlook, rather more overcast than usual.


And this is the western overlook. We did not hike to the summit because it was raining fairly hard by the time we got here.


When we came down the mountain, we stopped at this little place in Comus for butternut squash and cider.


There's still quite a bit of fall harvest fruits around -- sugar pumpkins instead of the big ones and lots of varieties of squash.


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So now they're saying the Democrats are definitely going to take the house and possibly the Senate but it's too close to call in several states, including Virginia. They've called Maryland for Cardin but Steele is not conceding. Oh Heath Shuler, I liked you better when you were a mediocre Redskins quarterback than now as an anti-choice, anti-gay marriage Democrat from Asheville, NC. And Lieberman won in CT, big surprise. Will try to process all this in the morning!
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