By Stephen Dunn
Storms moved across the Rockies
and through the plains, rode the jet stream
east. By the time they reached us: rain.
And there were other things that looked—
to other eyes—like welcome news.
The country tilting right.
A few more punishments for the poor.
It was the winter winter never came
to South Jersey; no natural equivalent,
once again, to our lives. All around us
a harshness, a severity, not destined soon
to stop. Oh we were part of it,
reserved ourselves for just a few,
held back instead of gave. Our hearts:
caged things, no longer beating
for the many, who were too many now.
Meanwhile, the Dakotas were snowed in.
A bad wind came off the lakes,
and Chicago and Buffalo braced
for a familiar misery, predictable,
the satisfaction, at least, of what was due.
Here the sun came out and stayed for days.
It wasn't cold enough to think of warmth.
For months, it seemed, we lived lower
in the nation, seasonless, the answers
mostly Christian, though far from Christlike,
to every hard and bitter question.
The impatient, upstart crocuses
and daffodils fell once again
for the lies of March.
They simply wanted to exist.
The warm sun must have said Now,
and they gave themselves
to that first, hardly refusable touch.
History was whispering
at least another frost,
but who listens to the hushed sobrieties
of the old? The daffodils died
the advantaged death
of those with other deaths to live.
We stripped down, got colds.
Heraclitus, I want to say I've stepped
into the same stream twice,
and everything felt the same.
It wasn't, I know that now,
but what it felt like
had a truth of its own.
The daffodils and crocuses
traveled through the solitude
of what they felt
toward what they might become.
Choiceless, reactive, inhuman—
nothing to admire in what they did.
I would hereby like to announce that summer colds suck. Not that I want to complain too much, because I am so glad that if I had to be sick, it was this weekend when I intended to stay in reading anyway and this week when the kids are in camp and I don't have to schlep all over the place, nor am I at the beach, but I took Nyquil last night and slept insanely late and still feel like there's cotton in my head and I have to get up insanely early because apaulled has a very early phone conference and I am not looking forward to this at all.
In better news, I got everything done today that I needed to get done except having lunch. Got all three and a half loads of laundry done and sorted and folded while watching Rain Man, which held up so much better than I was expecting and reminded me that once upon a time I did not loathe Tom Cruise. Wrote articles on Trek XI (indeed no Shatner, there goes any lingering desire I had to see the movie), animated series canon (some whiners have a problem accepting this) and Kate Mulgrew (still Mary Sueing Janeway after all these years). Answered more posts and e-mails than I can remember doing in a single day since HBP came out. It was really rather fun.
And these Tithoreas don't care who's watching.
Neither do these Crimson Patches.
I am very nearly certain that this is a monarch, not a viceroy.
And I believe, though I cannot swear it, that this is a Baltimore Checkerspot, the Maryland state butterfly.
This is certainly a Golden Helicon.
I think this is a Painted Lady, but really need to see the insides of the wings to be certain.
But sadly, I can find nothing on the butterfly chart that looks like this beauty, so I cannot identify it at all.
I had seen a preview (I think attached to Blades of Glory) for I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and thought it looked agonizingly heterosexist (marriage is a real special privilege for gays), sexist (being gay is a perfect opportunity to hit on women) and just plain awful. I get the New York Times review headlines e-mailed on Fridays and the reviewer called the movie "casually sexist, blithely racist" -- the barrage of gay jokes in for less criticism as the misogyny, not the fact of being gay but behaving like a woman that is played as repulsive and embarrassing. The ABC News reporter I overheard gave it a D, as did EW. I realize that most of OOTP's likely audience was at home reading DH, but how did Chuck and Larry end up on top of the box office? Ugh!
Watched snatches of the debate, wish I could say someone had impressed me enough to grab my full attention. Probably everyone fasting for Tisha B'Av is not online at the moment but if you happen to be, hope it goes well. I did not grow up fasting on the holiday and am ambivalent about it, having no desire for a restored priesthood or belief in a Messiah but being extremely fed up with European press coverage of Israel and revisionist history, and at the same time I was reading Rabbi Lerner's warning in Tikkun ("According to the rabbis, the reason the First Temple was destroyed is the reason that the Prophets predicted: Jews had power but used it without sensitivity and ignoring the Torah commands to care for the powerless, the poor, the homeless, the stranger"), and okay, this is too much politics particularly with a head cold!