The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Sunday

Sea Grapes
By Derek Walcott

That sail which leans on light,
tired of islands,
a schooner beating up the Caribbean

for home, could be Odysseus
home-bound on the Aegean;
that father and husband's

longing, under gnarled sour grapes, is like
the adulterer hearing Nausicaa's name in
every gull's outcry.

This brings nobody peace. The ancient war
between obsession and responsibility will
never finish and has been the same

for the sea-wanderer or the one on shore now
wriggling on his sandals to walk home, since
Troy sighed its last flame,

and the blind giant's boulder heaved the trough from
whose groundswell the great hexameters come to the
conclusions of exhausted surf.

The classics can console. But not enough.


From Poet's Choice by Mary Karr in The Washington Post Book World, in which she describes Walcott as "one of the great mongrels of American poetry, serving as a singular melting pot for a variety of traditions -- from Shakespeare's English to the patois of his grandmothers, who descended from slaves. "'I'm just a red nigger who love the sea,/I had a sound colonial education,/I have Dutch, nigger, and English in me,/and either I'm nobody, or I'm a nation.'" Karr compares Walcott's struggles with exile to Homer's chronicle of Odysseus, noting that "in Walcott's poem about Odyssey, Homer appears as 'the blind giant' who heaves a trough in the ocean that Walcott then sails into."

Saturday was Maryland Day at the University of Maryland and our original plan was to go to the physics and agriculture and manga exhibits, but it's over a hilly mile from the parking lots to the various buildings and between my lungs, the pollen count and the possibility of rain, I bailed out and the rest of the family followed. Instead we returned to our household cleaning projects, which included putting together a new chest of drawers for Adam, whose room is now cleaner than mine, and sorting through Daniel's closet, where we discovered several ancient stuffed animals that have now moved onto Adam's bed -- including the trio of dragons that lived on my dorm room bed in college, and a musical dinosaur given to Daniel as an infant -- as well as four bags of baby clothes we had never given away, where I found two sweaters made by my mother's mother that will be saved for my grandchildren. Even at this late date it's sad to be giving away all those cute little velour baby outfits, and I put the Chicago Bears onesie on a stuffed bear so we could keep it for posterity. I also yanked something for someone who's reading this who may need it in a few months, heh.

Daisy actually fell asleep in this position.

Really, mid-stretch, with her paw sticking out just like that.

She has also been known to fall asleep with her paw over her face...

...or smushed against Rosie, or between Rosie and a person. Usually me.

Here she helps inspect Adam's collection of stuffed animals being sorted on my bed.

All three cats can be highly pesked by a feather pesker, even if no one is waving it around.

In fact, they are more likely to take turns if it is anchored in one place.

Watched Robin Hood: Men in Tights because we were all in silly moods and the kids hadn't seen it -- not even close to Mel Brooks at his best, but it has Cary Elwes, Roger Rees (proving that he's no Alan Rickman) and a very young Dave Chappelle whom I hadn't even realized was there last time I saw it more than a decade ago -- I didn't know Brooks discovered him! Plus Brooks does his usual rabbi schtick and Patrick Stewart gets some hilarious digs in at Sean Connery's expense, which is really sufficient reason to watch the movie. My in-laws called; they have made it home from Britain, where it sounds like they had a lovely time and saw more of Scotland than we have. And I ordered my Shutterfly stuff with a combination of coupons that it less than half price, so all in all a reasonably successful day even if I never left the house.

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