The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Monday

One Day I Will Die
By Jason Shinder

How proud I am
to be the center
of a tragedy.

and again
the same shadow.

Thank you God.
Thank you shadow.
Happy is the man

who looks into
the deepest folds
of his sorrows.

The soul, lost,
can be stirred.
Thank you sorrows.

Thank you
bottom of the river.
Won't you be forever?

No one else
in sight.
Soon I won't

have to work
to get attention.
Thank you work.

Haven't you carried me
And thank you

for holding me
before I spoke.


And it does no good
to wipe the sweat
from my forehead.

Not now.
Not in the night
with my eyes closing.

Thank you night.
This time
before I leave

I want to thank
my friends.
Thank you friends.

Thank you.
What more could I,
a dying man, want?


From Poet's Choice in Sunday's Washington Post Book World. "My friend Jason Shinder was 52 when he succumbed to leukemia last month," writes Mary Karr. "A poet, Jason also founded the Writer's Voice program at New York's West Side YMCA, which spread nationwide, furthering poetry's far-flung infiltrations. Jason's poem 'One Day I Will Die' enjoins us to hug each instant hard enough to forge a diamond from the coal. He did. For that, and for his words, I'm grateful." The poem appears in Among Women, published by Graywolf.

We spent the early part of the day at the Washington Folk Festival at Glen Echo Park, which as always was wonderful. We ate lunch on the grass while waiting for Ocean Orchestra, which came on at noon and played many of my favorites -- "The Gladdest Breeze," "The Water Is Wide" (sung in Breton), "Waves," "Venus" -- plus the world premiere of a song called "Everything Glows," a combination of Punjabi Bhangra melodies on Scottish Highland bagpipes that sounded fantastic (though Jennifer warned that if you tried this particular combination in the kitchen, you would get curried haggis, which would be horrible). They also played several reels and jigs and got everyone clapping.

We walked through the craft display -- I bought tie-dye scarves -- and the House of Musical Traditions tent, which always has unusual and inexpensive instruments from all over the world, plus we got some cinnamon roasted almonds and lots of water given the heat. Then we went to hear Greentree, a group consisting of some Ocean members plus local hammered dulcimer player Jody Marshall and singer Carey Creed, both of whom we've seen in other combinations at various times. Carey described "Blue Boat Home," an Earth-centric song by Peter Mayer, as "an old hymn with new Buddhist-Unitarian lyrics." We also heard a bit of the "Jewgrass" group, the Sinai Mountain Boys, and Cletus Kennelly and Lori Kelley, who in addition to being terrific folk singers are big Lord of the Rings fans -- their album Lotus has "Eowyn's Song" on it and here they sang a song that was clearly based on The Hobbit.

Jennifer Cutting and Dave Abe of Ocean Orchestra playing a reel. Jennifer always has the members of Ocean dress in blues and greens to honor the sea; today she had seahorses on her shirt.

Here's the full group -- Jennifer, Dave, Grace Griffith, Cheryl Hurwitz, Lisa Moscatiello, Rico Petrucelli, Bob Mitchell (Chris Stewart on drums is hidden in the background).

Lisa did triple duty on guitar and vocals as well as whistle. They opened the festival Sunday at noon on the Potomac Palisades Stage.

Dave and Grace also performed with Carey Creed, Jody Marshall and Paul Nahay in Greentree -- a group committed to environmental consciousness -- on the Cuddle Up Stage (named for the amusement park ride that was formerly housed there).

Also on the Cuddle Up stage, the Sinai Mountain Boys, who play traditional bluegrass music with Hasidic and Ashkenazi Jewish melodies.

On the Yurt Village Stage, here are Cletus Kennelly and Lori Kelley, who are playing at the Rockville library later this week so we'll get to hear more of them than we did at the festival.

Not all the music was performed on stages, though. This group was practicing in the picnic area.

Came home, let the kids go to the pool for a bit, then we all watched Saturday night's Doctor Who, "Silence in the Library," on which I reserve judgment till I see the next part of the arc. Donna had lots of fantastic moments, ridiculing the Doctor for not letting her read books from the future when traveling with him is one big spoiler, mocking him for following a cry for help sealed with a kiss, kicking in the door when the Doctor's screwdriver couldn't open it and shouting at him about it, slapping his hands away for what he believed was stopping her from fainting ("Hands!"), being kind to the bimbo when no one else is, guessing that the shop is the way out because everyone wants you to go through their shop and buy things. (So far, despite her cataloging brilliance in "The Doctor's Daughter," she hasn't seemed to guess that the "Biography" section is literally where the people's lives are kept, though I could be wrong about that...just don't think I am.)

And there were other things I liked, from the library itself which reminds me a lot of Thursday Next's Great Library from Jasper Fforde's books, the "real world" little girl with her Robbie the Robot and dinosaur toys, the incredible creepiness of the shadow creatures and talking skeletons...even River Song, though I reserve judgment on her until we find out exactly what went on in the future between herself and the Doctor. (I like her calling him "pretty boy" and expecting him to treat her as an equal, though of course he doesn't -- he doesn't treat anyone that way at present, and it's annoying that the team immediately follows him without waiting for her order to do so.) I'm not happy at the clunky foreshadowing, River knowing Donna's name but not knowing Donna, though I feel confident that Donna is currently in the biography section and not just a dead talking face.

Then we watched National Geographic's "Stonehenge Decoded," in which archaeologists may or may not have uncovered the lost city of the builders of Stonehenge and Durrington Walls. It sounds like they need a lot more excavation and investigation before they can be sure of their conclusions, but it certainly made me want to go back to Salisbury Plain. I guess we are not going to Universal Studios on our trip this summer; we'd thought about it, though it's expensive, but it sounds like quite a bit of it may be under repair. I just hope they didn't lose too many original films in the library.

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