By Gerard Manley Hopkins
Not, I'll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee,
Not untwist--slack they may be--these last strands of man
In me or, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.
But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst thou rude on me
Thy wring-world right foot rock? lay a lionlimb against me? scan
With darksome devouring eyes my bruised bones? and fan,
O in turns of tempest, me heaped there; me frantic to avoid thee and flee?
Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain lie, sheer and clear.
Nay in all that toil, that coil, since (seems) I kissed the rod,
Hand rather, my heart lo! lapped strength, stole joy, would laugh, cheer.
Cheer whom though? The hero whose heaven-handling flung me, foot trod
Me? or me that fought him? O which one? is it each one? That night, that year
Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God.
A second poem from Mary Karr's Poet's Choice in Sunday's Washington Post Book World. "Hopkins called his dense metric system 'sprung rhythm,' even using accent marks to instruct the reader where to bear down," she wrote. "In 'Carrion Comfort,' Hopkins refuses to feast on the rotten meat of melancholy, though he can barely long for day and stave off suicide. Hopkins's syntax is so mangled, the lines so packed with heavy plodding accents and stilted comma stops, that he speaks as if through a chokehold. Yet somehow the depth of his suffering proves the vigor of his faith."
It has been a day of running around to get things done, first Hebrew school and food shopping, then the science fair awards (Adam did not win but seems to have taken this in stride, as most of the middle school winners were older), then to buy cat litter and new feathers for the pesker toy, then to get haircuts, then to the T-Mobile store because my MDA has been acting up steadily in the past few weeks and today I couldn't access files stored on it, so I finally gave up and decided to try the Wing again. (Does anyone know how to remove the My5 and MyFave applications, which seem to be locked? I've managed to turn off and remove the link that makes them launch each time the phone is turned on, but I can't figure out how to delete the files or remove the program altogether.)
Testudo the diamondback terrapin on display outside of McKeldin Library. Chosen as an athletic mascot in the 1930s, this statue was donated by the Class of 1933 and displayed in front of the coliseum, but it received such abuse from visiting sports teams that in the 1960s it was moved to this more central spot on campus.
One of fifty Testudo "Fear the Turtle" statues decorated by University departments and displayed throughout Maryland, including turtles in Annapolis, Baltimore and Ocean City. They were auctioned to raise money for the school, but some of them were donated back to the school by their owners.
The Pi sculpture in front of Patterson Hall. I believe this is the where the landscape architecture department is housed.
Here is the Memorial Chapel in brilliant afternoon sunshine. The bells play "Maryland, My Maryland" hourly. Just below it on the hill sloping down to Route 1 is a traffic circle with a large "M."
The fountain that adorns the center of the campus was not there when I was a T.A. and was not turned on yet this weekend, but in the summer it is beautiful and on Maryland Day the volunteers put plastic floating ducks in the water as part of a giveaway.
The signs on the front of the student union change seasonally to promote the many events that influence the restaurants, theaters, cinema, food co-op, art gallery and other facilities within.
We watched the first two episodes of HBO's John Adams miniseries, which I enjoyed enormously. Okay, the fact that Laura Linney is playing Abigail Adams pretty much guaranteed that I would enjoy it, and Paul Giamatti is terrific as the title character and Danny Huston and Rufus Sewell play Samuel Adams and Alexander Hamilton. Plus Stephen Dillane's Thomas Jefferson is pretty hot. And much of it was filmed in Colonial Williamsburg, even the parts set in Boston, so it looked familiar from just having been there.
Abigail is great, as is inevitable really; when George Washington visits her, she asks him whether he thinks the evils of the fighting and the pox are their punishement for the sin of slavery and he tells her that he hopes she'll write quickly to her husband because the more of her counsel he receives, the more quickly they all benefit. Plus she gets herself and her children inoculated against the pox in an era when that was almost as dangerous as risking the disease. Adams is very dorkishly sweet telling Jefferson that the letter should write the Declaration of Independence because Adams is known as obnoxious and unpopular, whereas the Virginian is the opposite, and he and Benjamin Franklin are none too happy when Jefferson announces that slavery is an abomination but he has no immediate solution to the problem. I'm excited for the next part next week.
Insanely early tomorrow morning, Paul is going to New York for work for three days and I have to get older son up and out -- this is not an easy task at 6 a.m. -- so I am going to collapse and hope for a less stressful few days than I anticipate!