The Poem as Mask
By Muriel Rukeyser
When I wrote of the women in their dances and
wildness, it was a mask,
on their mountain, gold-hunting, singing, in orgy,
it was a mask; when I wrote of the god,
fragmented, exiled from himself, his life, the love gone
down with song,
it was myself, split open, unable to speak, in exile from
There is no mountain, there is no god, there is memory
of my torn life, myself split open in sleep, the rescued
beside me among the doctors, and a word
of rescue from the great eyes.
No more masks! No more mythologies!
Now, for the first time, the god lifts his hand,
the fragments join in me with their own music.
As some of you have undoubtedly noticed, TrekToday has been down on and off for several days (I wasn't actually paying attention Thursday or Friday because of the holidays), and my editor tells me that it is now repaired so on Tuesday I can catch up on Trek news. On Monday I accomplished only one thing, but it was a big one: I finished tagging four years of poetry entries! It's still a work in progress -- I probably have some Canadians mixed up with the contemporary Americans, and I used terms like "mystical" and "metaphysical" rather loosely when it came to deciding where to put people like Donne. It's quite arbitrary who got their own tags -- modern US writers were far more likely to get them because I have so many post-1900 Americans, but I didn't give Marianne Moore one because I just don't love her enough, though I did give Rumi one even though I've only posted eight poems of his and could have put him in with the mystics. Probably on a later pass I will take Tennyson and Longfellow out of Victorian and early American respectively and give them their own tags, though I haven't posted my favorites of theirs because the poems are too long!
I gave tags to Thomas Bailey Aldrich, A.R. Ammons, Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth Bishop, Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Constantine Cavafy, Amy Clampitt, Emily Dickinson, Stephen Dunn, Robert Frost, Thom Gunn, Anthony Hecht, Jane Hirshfield, James Joyce, David Lehman, James Merrill, W.S. Merwin, Pablo Neruda, Naomi Shihab Nye, Sharon Olds (who already had a tag), Brian Patten, Kenneth Rexroth, Adrienne Rich, Rainer Maria Rilke, Rimbaud and Verlaine, Pattiann Rogers (also already tagged), Dante Gabriel Rossetti (I put his sister there too, heh), Muriel Rukeyser, Rumi, William Shakespeare (leading the pack with 66 entries), Jane Shore, Shel Silverstein, Charles Simic, Mark Strand, Rabindranath Tagore, Walt Whitman and William Carlos Williams. Then I also tagged Asian poets (31), Middle Eastern poets (21), British and Irish poets (60), early American poets (40), English Renaissance poets besides Shakespeare (17), feminist poets (75), inspirational poets (12), Jewish poets (53), Metaphysical poets (13), Modernist poets (53), mystical poets (43), nautical poets (28), Romantic poets (46 -- I was strict, you had to be Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake, Byron, Shelley or Keats to qualify), Victorian poets (34), poets from the World Wars (25), poets in the news (19), poets in translation (59), poets who have been my teachers in college and grad school (10), 27 miscellaneous entries where I needed to go back and figure out how to categorize them, and then many years' worth of Poets Choice offerings -- 16 for Rita Dove including her own poems, 77 for Edward Hirsch and 137 so far for Robert Pinsky. The monster category remains contemporary American poets -- 258, split over three tags because I couldn't figure out good sub-categories for the writers involved. Probably these tags will never be of any use to anyone but me but I feel accomplished anyway!
My other big achievements of the day were four laundries and organizing my CDs after the Great CD Catastrophe Cleanup ("mine" being a little bitty subset of the total number of CDs in the house, though spouse's are organized too...just still too many for the house *g*). I didn't take notes on Heroes because I was being Led Astray, but the show rocked right up until the preview for next week, when we got one of those ominous Lost-trashy A HERO WILL DIE! warnings. It's not like heroes haven't died before...I assume we are supposed to believe it's a major cast member, but I'll believe it when I see it and given the number of people who've managed not to stay dead thus far, I'm not losing sleep. They could easily kill off the painter now that he's served his purpose vis a vis the cheerleader and is back deep into drugs -- I can't even remember his name, that's how not-attached to him I am -- or, you know, they could kill Jessica (again) and keep Niki. That was a very cool revelation, that she was a twin! I was about to compare it to a certain movie but that would involve a huge spoiler for the movie...but some of you will get what I mean. Also, I really hope Claire's dad continues not to be a bad guy after all, because I really like him.
He likes to play ball and was hamming it up for the crowds at the new Asia Trail enclosure. Unfortunately the glass did not make for great photos, though it did permit great views!
The baby sloth bear looks just like his father! Though the two live in different parts of the enclosure and can only see one another from a distance, so far as I can tell.
He is also quite adorable and was showing off for people watching him, rolling around and pacing up and down the rocks.
LAST CALL! If you are on my friends list and want a holiday card, go here or send me an e-mail! No reciprocation necessary but I need a head count! And I know I owe my address to people; I lost the list of whom I'd already sent mine to, so you might get it twice. But if you need it, tell me that, too!