By Michael Ondaatje
On the warm July river
upside down river
for a roof
towards an estuary between trees
there's a dog
learning to swim near me
friends on shore
back to the eyebrow
I'm the prow
on an ancient vessel,
I'm going down to Peru
soul between my teeth
a blue heron
with its awkward
broken backed flap
one of us is wrong
his blue grey thud
thinking he knows
the blue way
out of here
Poet's Choice is late being posted this week, but The Washington Post had an interview up awhile ago with Ondaatje by Bob Thompson here. He doesn't plan his novels at all -- starts with images, writes scenes around them, has no idea how they connect until years later when he has lots of scenes. "It's a quite radical form," Ondaatje said of his latest novel, Divisadero. He was a poet before he was a novelist, however, and long before The English Patient made him famous, but he felt trapped by verse: "I just wanted to get out and leap on a horse...and, you know, have a scene." Of his subjects, he explained, "Writers exaggerate the situations of their own lives."
I had kind of a cranky, indecisive morning followed by a very nice day. I didn't sleep well, as it was too hot in the house, and then it was supposed to be over 85 degrees, and part of me wanted to go to the Potomac Celtic Festival but part of me did not want to be out in the sun, spending all that money and listening to the kids complain that they didn't want to be there for the entire afternoon waiting for Tinsmith and Ocean Orchestra in the early evening.
So instead of driving to Leesburg, we went to see Surf's Up -- younger son's movie of choice for the entire summer -- and we all enjoyed it greatly. It isn't as serious a movie as Happy Feet and in a lot of ways it's less ambitious, but the animated surfing and scenery is terrific, the voice actors are all very funny (loved James Woods as an egotistical promoter, and Jon Heder as a chicken from Michigan who epitomizes the laid-back stoner attitude of the true surfer) and because it clocks in under an hour and a half, it never gets bogged down in its storyline. The fact that it's about penguins is pretty incidental to the film; it could have been about surfing marmosets, except that Rockhoppers have that built in slicked-back yellow feathers look and their markings make it easy to distinguish one from another. I'm sure I will have to see this one again and that's fine.
Since we were at the shopping center at Rio to see the movie, we took a walk around the lake and saw lots of goslings! First we saw the large group we had seen a few weeks ago, which are now adolescents with scraggly wing and tail feathers, though still very cute. And then we discovered a brand-new trio of very fuzzy goslings being reared by the domestic geese, though two of the babies were clearly fathered by a Canadian goose! Photos tomorrow!
We came home, packed a picnic and went to get our Celtic fix by driving to Potomac Overlook Park in Virginia to see hammered dulcimer player Jody Marshall (whom I knew from her performances in Moonfire) playing with guitarist Zan McLeod and Carey Creed, a local singer-songwriter whose work I only knew from other people's recordings -- Grace Griffith has done some of her songs, for instance. They were wonderful together and in addition to some of Carey's songs and some traditional reels and jigs, they did adaptations for hammered dulcimer and guitar of music by Jethro Tull and the Allman Brothers. There were at least a hundred people there, most in families, with the older kids mostly playing ball by the nearby nature center and the younger kids dancing in front of the stage.
As you can see, the park powers their electronics via energy collected with solar panels.
Because the concerts are free and the park is very family-friendly, they tend to attract a lot of little kids. Carey had her own fan club...
...with whom she clapped along while just the guitar and dulcimer were being featured.
The peanut gallery kept expanding until there were beach balls, bubbles and two little girls selling magic pebbles for three cents each.
And the musicians invited a local young dancer to do a jig while they played, so even without going to the Potomac Celtic Festival, I got to see Irish dancing.
Here are the actual headline performers!
I completely forgot about the Belmont till the news came on. And I have no idea where the NBA finals are now -- is San Antonio still winning?