The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday

Che Fece...Il Gran Rifiuto
By Constantine Cavafy
Translated with Willis Barnstone

A day comes to some people when
they must pronounce the great Yes or the great No.
It is instantly clear who has the Yes within,
ready; and by uttering it, he crosses over to

his honor and conviction. The one who
refuses has no remorse. If asked again,
he'd say no again. And yet that No —
the right No — weighs him down to his life's end.


It was a magnificent 75-degree day, enough to make my allergies aware that spring is coming, but I can hardly complain about that. Had my stitches taken out in the morning, after a very long wait for the doctor, and then since I'd waited so long he took off a mole on my shoulder for good measure (he wasn't worried about it being a problem but it gets caught on my bra strap sometimes and is irritating). Then, since I was five minutes from his office, I picked up apaulled and we went out for Indian food. No baby geese at the lake at Rio yet but the couples were paired off on the lake and we watched them while we ate.

After lunch I stopped in Target looking for an inexpensive, skinny little credit card holder to take to Europe with me. I spent half an hour going through every wallet in the women's handbag section, finally settled upon one, paid for it, remembered I had forgotten power converters (though as it happened the brand Target carries had been recalled), and discovered while walking past the men's wallets which for some reason are in the luggage section that they had exactly what I wanted, so returned the one I had just bought and got one of those. How come they assume women want frou-frou stuff and not nice, simple, neat things?

Watched this week's Rome, which again I did not like very much, which is not to say that it wasn't well done. But all the dynamics between characters that I have liked all series have been utterly ripped up, and while in some cases that was necessary (we all know the big story's Antony & Cleopatra, not Antony & Atia or Antony & Octavia), in other cases things just seemed rushed and gratuitous.

I know I've been joking about Octavian's Oedipus complex but the show seems to be reveling in the hatred of women he has developed, which is being pretty heavily pinned on Atia, who doesn't have a lot of choice if she wants power than to exploit the men in her life who legally possess it. He starts off promising to reward all women who do not act like his mommy, then continues ruining her life and Octavia's because it's the only way he truly believes in his own power...though he also tells his wife to be that he plans to beat and whip her just because he enjoys it, and she nods meekly and says fine. (If Octavian gets off on dominating women, he could have a different slave girl every night or a regular mistress...the fact that he wants to do this to his wife, who has no experience of beating and believes that a woman who is beaten must deserve punishment, is pretty disturbing.)

Given the sexual balance of power, I suppose I should have more respect Gaia than I do, but although she's right that Eirene has been more a mouse than a lion, I despise Gaia for killing Eirene. (Pullo's funeral prayers for her were quite moving but I'm so sick of him defining himself as ex-Thirteenth, like that and killing people with his bare hands are the only things he wants to define himself by. Vorenus finally, finally grew up this week, and Vorena was wonderful confronting him the way she must have wanted to from the moment he came home and forced her to pretend to be Lucius' mother at age fourteen to save her mother's life...I'm a bit sad we probably won't see Pullo and Vorenus together again but I'm actually more looking forward to Vorenus trying to keep Antony's head out of his arse.

It's just so hard for me to like anyone right now...Octavia doesn't fight hard enough, Agrippa is just pathetic, Octavian is despicable on just about every level. Atia still has some fire in her but the rest of them have her locked down good. Livia will get what she deserves as a social climber, and while I still deep down like Vorenus and Antony and Vorena and Timon and even Octavia who historically had so much more backbone than she does here, I don't think any of them is headed for a happy end in the time frame of this series. I hope I'm wrong.

A few more pictures from Theodore Roosevelt Island. Here are the impressive root system of the bald cypress tree...

...a piliated woodpecker through a nest of branches...

...and ducks sleeping in the sunlight.

And speaking of wildlife, my local station WTOP had a story about a Maryland Zoo baby penguin that had spinal surgery to correct a deformity. I posted a picture here!

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