The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Tuesday

The Mind
By Reed Whittemore

The mind wears many hats, many different wares.
Like a bird on a spit it turns in its living sleep.
It is quick, slow, open, secret, crammed with jokes, prayers.
It knows not what it knows deep.

Yet I have known one kind of mind whose vision
Is steady as the sphinx's, and whose mold
Is rock against all sea and salt and season.
Such a mind, soul, have the old.

They traffic in fixities; they sit in corners sipping.
In the sharp declivities of the times they save their breath.
They are more put out by a misplaced tool or letter
Than birth or death.

And when they talk they talk to themselves; their rhetoric
Wanders off into privacies where a word
Cares not who hears it, and eloquence
Is a canard.

I know a mind, soul, whose time now leads it
Shoreward to silence.
Not long ago it chattered like half a school,
And bade the desert dance.


Another from Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World, in which Robert Pinsky observes, "'The Mind' moves from a comic first image to a final, quiet one." The poem is one of several that Whittemore includes in his prose memoir Against the Grain: The Literary Life of a Poet from Dryad Press.

The contractors called Monday morning, while apaulled was still here waiting for them so we could help move stuff so they could paint, and said they weren't coming. And we'd left a message Sunday night asking when they were coming and what we needed to move, and the foreman could easily have called and let us know what was up the night before. Arrgh. So I called vertigo66 and gblvr and demanded that we go out to lunch, and we went to Cheeburger Cheeburger with a friend of gblvr's.

Then I had to go to the post office to mail a bunch of packages and buy stamps for holiday cards -- eesh, 90 cents now to mail even postcards overseas! -- and the rest of my day was spent moving all the stuff on shelves in my living room so the walls can be painted. I don't even want to talk about how traumatic this was, since that would require thinking about it. I will just mention that the fall leaves were gorgeous driving home, and here are some photos from the weekend.

The Catoctin Range past Frederick from one of the picnic areas on Sugarloaf Mountain.

The color was spectacular last weekend.

During the Civil War, the mountain was used as a Union lookout.

Now views like this one from the Bill Lambert Overlook are just for enjoyment.

Most of the paths to the summit require walking through the woods.

The leaves are more red lower on the mountain, yellow higher up.

Through the trees you can see the rock fall left from the glacier that carved out the monadnock.

Watched Heroes and Journeyman around giant boxes of books, CDs, DVDs, soccer and baseball trophies, etc. Neither of them made my night, but that might be more a reflection on my night than either episode. I was surprised how happy I was to see DL again! Even if he's dead! I am hopelessly confused whether Matt's father is an evil bastard or the only one who's seeing clearly, since what DL said to Niki turned out to be's easier to trust Bob than him even though Bob clearly means trouble for Matt, Mohinder, Noah, Molly and Claire, though Noah is still being a total dope giving his family orderse instead of telling them what he thinks is actually going on, and it doesn't quite ring true -- feels like bad plot device that he'd try to go back to treating Claire this way. Save the cheerleader, save the world indeed.

Daniel cracked me up with a question: since children apparently inherit their specific powers in part from their parents, if Claire's boyfriend can fly, does that mean that Nathan is his father and thus Claire is his sister? Adam pointed out that in that case, maybe Claire's father is really Kenzei, though I'm not clear on whether he's immortal or just capable of regeneration. (I figure the odds are decent that Claire's mother lied to Nathan about who fathered her child anyway, so it wouldn't shock me if Nathan turned out not to be Claire's father after all, and Angela knew and never told Nathan so they'd have something else to hold over his head and some control over the child and Noah both.)

Journeyman had its moments but it still feels too stiff to me...not just the fact that Dan is still so deadly serious, but the fact that he doesn't ask Livia any of the ten bazillion questions one would think he would have for her because they want to withhold that information and keep her as International Woman of Mystery, plus the fact that neither Katie nor Dan seem to like or trust Jack but they have him over to babysit all the time, also because it serves the plot so he can snoop in their house, not because it makes sense. Incestuous much? It all feels too fragmentary -- not the arc, which is pretty well-constructed and well-paced, but the way the characters' personalities have to swing so wildly. I don't really root for any of them then way I do with people on Heroes even though I know some of the ones I like best are going to die on the latter.

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