Half Border and Half Lab
By Heather McHugh
Customs and chemistry
made a name for themselves
and it was Spot. He's gone to some
utopos now, the dirty dog, doctor of
crotches, digger of holes. Your airy clarities be damned,
he loved our must and our mistakes — why hit him, then,
who did us good? He's dead, he ought
to be at home. He's damned
put out, and so am I.
* * *
When blue is carried out, the law is red.
When noon is said and done, it's dusk again.
The greed for table makes the greed for bed.
So cave canem, even stars have litters — little
lookers, cacklers, killers . . . Morning raises up
the hackled men. (What's
milk, among our ilk, but
opportunity for spillers?)
* * *
He saved our sorry
highfalutin souls — the heavens haven't saved a fly. Orion's
canniness who can condone? — that starring story, strapping blade! —
and Sirius is just a Fido joke — no laughter shakes the firmament.
But O the family dog, the Buddha-dog — son of a bitch!
he had a funny bone —
A final McHugh poem from Poet's Choice in Sunday's Washington Post Book World, this one also reprinted from the November 2007 edition of Poetry. "Heather McHugh is a Radcliffe grad in cowboy boots," writes Mary Karr. "Her witty poems shift gears from Okie slow to spaceship speed. A translator from many tongues, she loves a pun, even when mourning a dead pooch."
Daniel slept till noon and woke with his throat still sore and a slight fever, so we spent my kids' day off stuck at home. For some reason the kids wanted to watch Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (I think they had seen Goldmember someplace and knew we had the other on VHS), so we watched that, and a bit later -- since it was raining and I couldn't make Adam play outside for long -- they wanted to put on one of the Pokemon movies, so I had the full spectrum of pre-adolescent boy entertainment. In other entertainment news, Paul e-mailed me the very important legal decision that the founder of Procul Harum has won back the rights to "A Whiter Shade of Pale" since the judge ruled that, although Matthew Fisher should be credited with co-authorship of the song because he contributed the organ music, it took him so long to sue that he has no right to financial benefits. Now I am waiting for the song's other co-writer, Johann Sebastian Bach, to sue as well.
All photos from the tulip library near the north side of the Tidal Basin, between the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial. In case you thought I was the only photographer visiting the National Cherry Blossom Festival who enjoyed these flower beds:
Watched New Amsterdam, continued to find it disappointing in terms of what it could be but reasonably entertaining for what it is; I am hugely relieved that it seems John will figure out sooner rather than later that Sara is not his destined love, but it seems like Eva must not be either if she's there when he comes back from the dead for the second time, which I am ambivalent about -- it would be a cliche to have his partner end up being his soulmate but also a nice thing to look forward to, a show where I can like the partners together without having to wait for disappointment for a change. I liked the storyline with the ex-cop, too, with all the partner jokes "you never forget your first," Andy says to Eva, which kind of suggests that she'll be attached to John but also kind of suggests that John should have considered Andy as a potential soulmate, heh). I was pretty sure either Andy or his wife had done something that made them culpable in his illness -- I've never heard of anyone getting leukemia from a lead bullet, can that really happen? And I loved seeing the amusement park at Coney Island, something I've heard stories about since I was a child from all my Brooklyn-born relatives, though I've never actually been there.
Then watched the NCAA basketball tournament, rooting for Kansas because they knocked out North Carolina, though I didn't really care who won since Duke, UConn, etc. were already out of contention and no one I really like made the Final Four. And the game is still going in overtime! I'm rooting for Stanford to win the women's tournament because they knocked Maryland out, so they must deserve to win. *g* Daniel will not be going to school tomorrow so I will have another day in the house, woe! Send entertainment!