The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Sunday

From Romeo and Juliet
By William Shakespeare

ROMEO [to JULIET, touching her hand]
If I profane with my unworthiest hand
  This holy shrine, the gentler sin is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
  To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.

Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
  Which mannerly devotion shows in this.
For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch,
  And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss.

Have not saints lips, and holy palmers, too?

Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.

O then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do:
  They pray; grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.

Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake

Then move not while my prayer's effect I take.
    [He kisses her]


From Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky, the Valentine's Day column in The Washington Post Book World, this week entitled "Our Grouchy Valentine Issue: Down With Love." Pinsky begins by mentioning the news from Mantua this week -- the discovery of two ancient skeletons, male and female, wrapped in an embrace -- noting that Mantua is near Verona, setting of Romeo and Juliet. "Shakespeare's play involves much mockery of love and lovers, some of it bitter and some playful...Shakespeare, in some of his sonnets, appears to mock the form he also uses so well -- having his cake and icing it, with a grin. He writes a sonnet into Act I, scene v of the play. Its lines are shared by the foolish, ardent teenagers. They each speak one line of the final, clinching couplet...the elaborate banter about saints and palmers and prayers is a kind of flirtatious, lightly blasphemous mutual testing. Like the formal structure, that witty teasing suggests both the silliness of love and its tremendous power."

It was a very pretty chilly clear Saturday, so after older son got back from working at Hebrew school, we went to the National Zoo. It was as uncrowded as I have ever seen it, and a decent number of animals were out of doors though many of the new Asian Trail residents were off-exhibit, possibly because a fishing cat managed to escape from its enclosure recently. We did not see the Asian great cats or otters, but the red pandas and sloth bears were out, as was one of the giant pandas (not Tai Shan, but his mommy). The bird house was fairly empty too, which is just as well as the male of a pair of nesting sunbitterns was pacing on a railing, squawking at anyone who came near. We also went to see the small mammals (because who can resist golden lion tamarins, degus, meerkats and prairie dogs) and the elephant house. Unfortunately by the time we got to the reptile house, it had already closed, since we didn't realize they stopped admitting visitors as early as 4:15. Fortunately we made it to Amazonia, which has snakes and poison dart frogs as well as South American fish and birds! We did not get to perkypaduan's usual haunt, the invertebrates, but I did speak to her briefly and she came through surgery well, though sore.

Spent the evening watching Time Machine on the History Channel, whose episode this week is "USS Constellation: Battling for Freedom" -- a two-hour special about the Constellation's assignment right around the outbreak of the Civil War, leading the U.S. African squadron charged with capturing slave ships and freeing the captives. The episode has many first-person accounts of work aboard the ship and the history of an African hunter abducted and taken to the slave ship Cora, as well as the obligatory pursuit and firing of the cannons. It looks to me like very little of it if any was filmed aboard the actual Constellation -- at one point it was possible to see the name Temperance on the stern of the tall ship in the water -- but it was still neat to see its history dramatized from records that one can see in the museum in Baltimore. They showed a long preview for Amazing Grace with Ioan Gruffudd as the British abolitionist William looks great, and I see that Albert Finney, Michael Gambon and Ciaran Hinds are in it too. Then we watched most of True Caribbean Pirates, even though we'd seen it before -- because, you know, tall ships and pirates -- and the beginning of Saturday Night Live with Forest Whitaker (though the best part were Dick and Lynn Cheney's Valentines) before putting on Doctor Who reruns.

This is Kandula, the young male elephant born at the zoo in 2001 to Shanthi.

Since it's cold and he was stuck indoors, he was playing with a big bouncy ball.

Usually he likes to play with a tire or a balancing block outside.

Then he started playing a different kind of game with the ball.

As you can see, Kandula is no longer a little boy. *g*

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