By Stanley Plumly
My brand-new Schwinn, its narrow English wheel.
I'd turn and circle figure eights until
I couldn't see or fell, the deep sun lost
behind the trees. I was as tall as Keats.
The game was numbers or the alphabet.
Later sorts of sonnets, quatrains, couplets.
Nobody died, as someone's mother or
mother-in-law would say about divorce.
At the end, sailing to south Italy,
grown-up Keats writes Brown that while "Land and Sea,
weakness and decline are...seperators...
death is the great divorcer forever."
In his marriage of the poem to matter,
written in stone if written in water.
The Washington Post Book World's Poet's Choice this week is about a poet I know -- Stanley Plumly, who taught poetry at the University of Maryland when I was a student there, though I took classes with Michael Collier so I was never Plumly's student. "Plumly's rich, assured new book [Old Heart: Poems] includes poems about poets of his own generation, living and dead, and of the past," writes Robert Pinsky. "'Keatsian,' a sonnet of subtly muffled rhymes, disarms by beginning with a sentence fragment that describes a scene seemingly far from Keats's 'Ode to A Nightingale.' But the word 'English' is a smiling allusion, and the child's counting bicycle turns, then poetic forms, reminds us that an old term for verse was 'numbers'...'Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water' is the phrase Keats asked to be inscribed on his headstone. Those words written in stone are a brilliant paradox, reflecting the young poet's awareness that he might -- or might not -- be the kind of artist we call 'immortal.' Plumly's tribute has a similar quality of quiet depths, something like a sublime wryness."
Daniel had his first day of volunteering at Hebrew school for the fall, so I spent a relatively quiet morning catching up on things at home (quiet besides being attacked by iandiinthesky in her pirate disguise, that is!). After he came home and we had lunch, we went to Lake Accotink Park for Pagan Pride Day at the McLaren Sargent Shelter. (There's a much bigger Pagan Pride Day on the National Mall tomorrow, but Adam has his first day of Hebrew school for the fall and I doubt we'll get downtown while most of the festivities are going on.) This gathering was fairly small and very nice, a couple of hundred people over the course of a few hours, with a bunch of local vendors and organizations -- everything from the UUCA's Moonfire group to the Interfaith Fairness Coalition to Ice & Fire to Ecumenicon to Carolina Spirit Quest to Wiccan Designs to the Circle of the Crystal Grove to Water Lily Celtic Jewelry. Moonfire did a ritual that involved everyone bringing water (some from people's homes, some from Lake Accotink) and there were various classes throughout the afternoon.
There were also performances by several local musicians and some drumming and Stav demonstrations.
This was Adam's favorite exhibition: a very friendly cockatoo belonging to one of the Circle of the Crystal Grove priestesses.
The bird, Sabrina, who had an extensive vocabulary, was wearing a diaper -- something I have never seen before!
I will save most of the lake photos, but here is a teeny tiny turtle that we saw swimming under the footbridge.
Because we had never been to this park before -- it's in Springfield, Virginia, about half an hour from where we live -- we walked down to the lake, where there is a recreation area with a carousel, canoe rentals and various concessions. We saw some geese, a tiny turtle and some dragonflies and other insects, plus lots of hikers, bikers and families renting boats. Our kids voted that it was too hot to go canoeing; since it was 90 degrees and we had not brought sunblock, we decided this was probably true -- so we did some grocery shopping on the way home and stopped at Borders, where -- you will be pleased to learn, robinwest -- I used my 30% off weekend coupon and a gift certificate and finally bought the first season of Mission: Impossible on DVD. Want to come over and watch "A Spool There Was" with me? The evening has been quiet -- I am beating my mother at the moment at Scrabulous but my 14-year-old is beating me, as is hak42. And Michigan lost again, but more importantly, the Terps won again!