The First Supper
By Franz Wright
Death, heaven, bread, breath and the sea
to scare me
But I too will be fed by
the other food
that I know nothing
of, the breath
the sea of
when the almond does not
blossom and the grasshopper drags itself along
But if You can make a star from nothing You can raise me up
"For most of my life, I was an atheist who found a eucharistic connection to others only through poetry. Reading a poem aloud, I took another person's passion into my body and was transformed by it. This Easter, regardless of your faith or its lack, I wish you the communion that Wright's 'The First Supper' promises," writes Mary Karr, who reflects on her acquaintance with the poet in this week's Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. "It addresses God, but the poem could be spoken to poetry itself...it's partially the bleakness of Wright's early work that makes his conversion to Catholicism so moving. 'Year One,' in his Pulitzer-winning collection Walking to Martha's Vineyard, ends with this sparely carved testament of his new faith: 'Proof/of Your existence? There is nothing/but.'"
Also, in the weird coincidences department: I posted a Franz Wright poem yesterday that I believe was the first poem I ever read by him. How strange is it that he's in Poet's Choice today?
We went to Mount Vernon hoping to take the National Treasure tour, but by the time we got there, they were completely booked for the weekend. Like Christmas weekend, it was quite busy, with all the overflow parking lots filled and several bus tours out front, but the grounds are so extensive that it never felt crowded; I imagine it was more so in the house itself, but we've taken that tour three times in the past few months so we skipped it this time. Instead we visited the gardens, wharf, pioneer farm, 16-sided barn, slave cabin, storehouses and newly restored gardener's house, but the highlight was seeing the Hogg Island sheep, many of whom had just had babies!
We came home craving peanut soup, so Paul made that for dinner which we had along with cheeses and turkey salami. Then we watched Blades of Glory on HBO, which was just as funny as the first time we saw it -- we were counting all the ways in which MacElroy and Michaels' routine was illegal in competition, from the music to the length to the pathetic lack of jumps (Scott Hamilton going berserk over side-by-side double axels like that's unusual) to the backflip, although the Van Waldenbergs' routine with JFK and Marilyn and the pills wasn't exactly regulation either. I'm not a big Will Ferrell fan -- couldn't sit through Bewitched and barely made it through Elf -- but when he's right for a role, like this or A Night at the Roxbury, he can be hysterically funny.
Hope everyone who celebrates has a lovely Easter...we are meeting my in-laws (after they go to church) in Baltimore for the afternoon and evening. Paul's brother David's oldest stepdaughter is visiting them so it will be nice to see her!