By Yvor Winters
Evening traffic homeward burns
Swift and even on the turns,
Drifting weight in triple rows,
Fixed relation and repose.
This one edges out and by,
Inch by inch with steady eye.
But should error be increased,
Mass and moment are released;
Matter loosens, flooding blind,
Levels drivers to its kind.
Ranks of nations thus descend,
Watchful, to a stormy end.
By a moment's calm beguiled,
I have got a wife and child.
Fool and scoundrel guide the State.
Peace is whore to Greed and Hate.
Nowhere may I turn to flee:
Action is security.
Treading change with savage heel,
We must live or die by steel.
Another from Sunday's Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. Robert Pinsky describes Winters as a moralist writing in 1933 about the rise of European fascism in this poem that "compares international jockeying toward war with the then-new phenomenon of cars speeding down the freeway: 'Evening traffic homeward burns/ Swift and even on the turns,/ Drifting weight in triple rows,/ Fixed relation and repose.'" Winters, he adds, "is willing to use archaic language, broad abstractions and blunt gestures to make his point. For instance, Winters makes his overarching simile blatantly explicit: 'Ranks of nations thus descend,' he writes, 'Watchful, to a stormy end.' He is also willing to use large, sweeping moral terms. In one of the recurring turns of poetry, it sometimes draws energy from its deepest, ancient roots in order to shout warning at the defects or blindnesses of a present moment."
Stayed home today to avoid the cold, though it ended up not being too bad...mid-thirties, and tomorrow's supposed to be back in the forties, though tomorrow morning it may be in the teens. Took a walk and watched the squirrels panicking about the sudden chill, wrote an article about the upcoming Trek comic in the original Klingon (I have the edition of Hamlet that Pocket Books published in the original Klingon several years ago, and while I cannot read it, it is one of my favorite books not in English), watched the news on the death of Barbaro which has saddened my children, who will never be racing fans now, which I think is just as well. Made an attempt to catch up on weekend mail but so far it's hopeless -- I haven't even started on the comments on Harry Potter in American translation.
Went to bed too early last night to talk about the SAG awards -- I care much more that Forest Whitaker and Helen Mirren win, and even Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson, than I care about Best Picture (forgetting how amazing Whitaker in particular is, it would be awesome to have three of four acting awards go to African-Americans). I was busy watching Daniel Radcliffe on Extras, which everyone I know already watched on The Leaky Cauldron but I wanted to see on the big TV. That wasn't actually his mother playing his mum, was it? Diana Rigg is one of my goddesses so the opportunity to watch him hit on her was beyond priceless -- "Do you still have your catsuit from The Avengers?" And since all the celebrities on that show play our worst fantasies about them (Orlando Bloom as arrogant buffoon, David Bowie writing songs at the dinner table), Diana gets to lecture Daniel on his poor grammar and worse manners!
Loved Heroes even though it seems like the writing is less tight than it was when the series first started; in particular they're not exciting me with Niki, Micah and DL, which is a shame because all of them are really good performers, particularly the little boy. Christopher Eccleston totally distracted me from almost everything else, though: "Empath means you're a pain my arse, mate...you seen very sure about this pending apocalypse." And Claire and her birth mother! Who can light cigarettes with her fingers! Guess we know how she survived the fire. Am still betting Claire's father is her biological father; it would explain how he had both the time and the resources to do all the stuff he's done, even if he's a total moron when it comes to Sylar. Am bummed we only got two seconds of George Takei but happy he will so surely be back!
And courtesy the fabulous melinafandom, who is entitled to all the good fannish karma in the world, we watched the first episode of Torchwood! I already loved Captain Jack, but I must admit that my very favorite things about the Russell T. Davies shows I've seen are the women. Gwen is fabulous, and I had no idea Indira Varma was in the pilot because I never made it that far into the episode! Am quite bummed that Suzie killed herself -- between this and Rome, I'm going to associate that with her now! -- but between the alien toys and the Cardiff jokes, I had a great time with the first hour. We decided to save the Sex Alien till tomorrow! And if Jack has angst because he can't die, and the Doctor has angst because he can't die, why aren't they married? Anyway, thank you so much again, melinafandom!
Here in honor of the cold weather are a few photos just of flowers from the greenhouse at Wheaton Regional Park:
Younger son's school found and sent off his forms for the magnet program that they had managed to lose, yay! And here's a quick link to iLoveMountains.org, the anti-mountaintop removal resource center, which I didn't know about until today (I love the EcoRebbe!). This touches my own state and is a devastating situation both for the mountainous regions and for the rest of us since global warming is a direct consequence of overuse of coal.