The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Monday

Bicameral, Part One
By Linda Gregerson

Choose any angle you like, she said,
the world is split in two. On one side, health

and dumb good luck (or money, which can pass
for both), and elsewhere . . . well,

they're eight days from the nearest town,
the parents are frightened, they think it's their fault,

the child isn't able to suck. A thing
so easily mended, provided

you have the means. I've always thought it was
odd, this part (my nursing school

embryology), this cleft in the world
that has to happen and has to heal. At first

the first division, then the flood of them, then
the migratory plates that make a palate when

they meet (and meeting, divide
the chambers, food

from air). The suture through which (the upper
lip) we face the world. It falls

a little short sometimes, as courage does.
Bolivia once, in May (I'd volunteer

on my vacations), and the boy was nine.
I know the world has harsher

things, there wasn't a war, there wasn't
malice, I know, but this one

broke me down. They brought him in
with a bag on his head. It was

burlap, I think, or sisal. Jute.
They hadn't so much as cut eyeholes.


From Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in Sunday's Washington Post Book World. "The final poem in Linda Gregerson's new book [Magnetic North] is an extended meditation on a Nobel-winning discovery about cell death and regeneration in the common roundworm C. Elegans. The poem, 'Elegant,' ponders a scientific vision of death's relation to life. Its pages also contemplate intellectual beauty...Gregerson's attractive work demonstrates that muscular thinking is not only desirable but needed, giving weight and meaning to emotion. Thinking gives us reality." Of the first of three parts of "Bicameral," adds Pinsky, "Without the thinking about clefts and divisions, the vocabulary of 'burlap,' 'sisal' and 'jute,' the self-critical reflection on 'harsher things,' the poem would be merely anecdotal or even voyeuristic. It is the mind holding various things together, or bringing them together, that generates the emotion. Significant subjects are demanding -- urgently difficult. Thought is the suture that keeps the world in mind."

We had a bunch of chores we had to take care of today -- younger son is building a model of the Chrysler Building for a school science project and we needed materials, had stuff to get for my mother's birthday and our trip to England later in the month, younger son wanted new stuffed Peeps since he's not supposed to eat marshmallow Peeps, etc. Hebrew school carpool required long waits because of the Purim carnival (not that I'm complaining because we got both chocolate and raspberry hamantaschen), kids' school forms needed to be filled out and homework done...I don't know exactly where the day went! Here, have some cats:

apaulled took this photo; I am half-awake just to the right, that's my leg Rosie is pawing. It is hard to sleep with two cats licking themselves all over the bed.

Here is Rosie resting next to apaulled while he works on the laptop. She is sneezing less, but will see the vet Monday anyway.

Glaring out the window at the birds, squirrels, chipmunks and other annoyances is a favorite pastime.

Even when Rosie is trying to sleep, Cinnamon can be counted upon to keep an eye on things.

Here is a photo from Sunday morning -- I had put that shirt on the bed to be put away in the closet, turned around, and when I turned back, this had happened.

Dear Cherokee Nation, You suck as much as the people in Israel who wanted to keep Ethiopian Jews out for not being Jewish enough according to stupid racist standards. Watched the History Channel special on the Dark Ages, which was quite entertaining even though it didn't contain much information that was new to me and some of the experts interviewed couldn't pronounce the things they were talking about (the author PEET-rarch, the French ruler CLOH-viss). They took it pretty easy on the early Church and didn't even discuss the fact that there were rival churches in the era of Clovis -- if he had embraced local Arian Christianity instead of Catholicism, the history of Europe might be quite different. There were also fun reenactments of the lives of Theodora, Charles Martel, Charlemagne and the Venerable Bede, to whom I feel close because we were in Durham Cathedral which houses his remains.

Monday is going to be another insane day, with the vet and the kids' after-school is Tuesday with my mother's birthday party and an evening meeting at the magnet high school for prospective students. Eee! Am going to bed early, as I am still not feeling 100% and don't know at this point whether it's early allergies, a mild cold or my body being in a state of irritable disequilibrium.

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