No Worst, There Is None
By Gerard Manley Hopkins
No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,
More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.
Comforter, where, where is your comforting?
Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?
My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chief
Woe, world-sorrow; on an age-old anvil wince and sing —
Then lull, then leave off. Fury had shrieked ‘No ling-
ering! Let me be fell: force I must be brief’.
O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
May who ne’er hung there. Nor does long our small
Durance deal with that steep or deep. Here! creep,
Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind: all
Life death does end and each day dies with sleep.
Another from Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World: "The mind, wrote Gerard Manley Hopkins, has 'cliffs of fall' that are 'no-man-fathomed,' suggesting a jagged, dangerous terrain with unexpected and potentially lethal gulfs," in the words of Robert Pinsky.
After younger son got home from Hebrew school and we had M&M pancakes (because we couldn't waste the extra M&Ms bought to play dreidel and make holiday cookies with!), we went downtown to the Phillips Collection to see Impressionists By the Sea, which has some absolutely gorgeous Monets plus tall ships and Normandy flowers and rock formations and sunsets (I had a series of Trouville prints on my wall through college so I am very attached to some of these paintings). We also looked at the permanent collection, some of which I adore (Picasso, O'Keeffe, Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party) and some of which is too much contemporary color splashing for me (no one is ever going to make me appreciate Rothko no matter how much they go on about palette and portals and abstraction).
Then we went to the National Geographic Explorers Hall to see the Crittercam exhibit, which not only has video and models of penguins, sharks, sea turtles, seals and lots more animals but has interactive exhibits on how the cameras and harnesses are attached, computer simulations, a be-a-penguin dome and lots more (schemingreader, if you get down here, you really must take your son before the exhibit closes at the end of the year). Younger son was delighted and older son spent lots of time on the computers. We also went to see the newly excavated Nigerian dinosaurs and the photo exhibit of the Alaskan wilderness and how global warming is affecting it.
Since it was already getting dark when we left as the museum was closing, we decided to go to Cici's Pizza in Gaithersburg for dinner, then to the Winter Lights Festival at Seneca Creek State Park, an annual tradition. They didn't have a park radio station playing quiet holiday music this year so we were stuck with WASH's all-Christmas, all-the-time plus commercials nightmare music programming but otherwise it was lovely! Next year I'm bringing George Winston's December and Jon Simon's New Traditions.
Here for instance are squirrels...
...a flapping owl...
...a fish leaping out of the lake...
...a sea monster, or lake monster...
...and (it's blurry but I had to post it anyway) a snakey!
Watched My Boy Jack with the kids in the evening; older son is studying World War I in school right now and younger son will generally watch anything so long as he has not deemed it boring (this one was in danger because it's based on real biographical events, but he was interested anyway). They both watched intently and younger son hid under a pillow when the war scenes got ugly. I was pleased to see that my imaginary boyfriend, Lucius Malfoy, made the Forbes list of the world's richest fictional men. Think he'll get me a pimp cane for the holidays? And our power stayed on despite the wind all across the county. And it looks like the Redskins beat the Giants! Wheeee!