The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Monday

Ode to Joy
By Miroslav Holub

You only love
when you love in vain.

Try another radio probe
when ten have failed,
take two hundred rabbits
when a hundred have died:
only this is science.

You ask the secret.
It has just one name:

In the end
a dog carries in his jaws
his image in the water,
people rivet the new moon.
I love you.

Like caryatids
our lifted arms
hold up time's granite load.

and defeated
we shall always win.


Another from Poet's Choice in Sunday's Washington Post Book World. "The way Star Wars stopped sci-fi movies from being cold, Holub warms up science for unscientific thinkers. Only he can make a knowing argument that the scientific method is akin to love in its relentless pursuit," writes Mary Karr. "The ideas of the narcissistic dog carrying his own image and the moon being riveted bring up in metaphor what poets have feared from science -- the self-involved, inhumane machine -- which is why Holub's phrase 'I love you' arrives so aptly." The poem is from Intensive Care: Selected and New Poems.

I am typing this at one of my two favorite places in the world -- the other being Glastonbury in the UK -- where we are sitting at a picnic table on the banks of the Belle Fourche river with Devil's Tower rising hundreds of feet above the campground. We set out this morning from Mitchell, crossed the Missouri River, passed at least two dozen road signs advertising Wall Drug, paused at the outskirts of the Badlands to take a few photos and left the Central Time Zone for the Mountain Time Zone. Then we stopped for lunch at the aforementioned Wall Drug, which makes the Corn Palace seem tasteful by comparison, took photos by the Jackalope and Ladies of the Night, bought fudge after considering some lovely knives with handles shaped like wolf heads, rainbow horse t-shirts and other wonderful items, and drank our Free Ice Water.

From Wall we drove to Mount Rushmore, which the kids had wanted to see again since National Treasure 2 (sadly, we saw no evidence of a city of gold anywhere nearby). Then we headed into the Black Hills to Devil's Tower, which we reached in the late afternoon and immediately went to hike around the boulders that surround the giant cliffs, weaving through a deep, wonderful-smelling pine forest and sunny hillsides. There's a huge prairie dog colony at the entrance to the national park where we stopped to watch the critters play. We checked into the campground at Devil's Tower where Close Encounters of the Third Kind ends, had a weenie roast -- well, actually chicken sausages -- and s'mores, and watched the sun set behind the monument. Glorious.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln carved on Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota.

We visited this lovely site after a glamorous lunch at Wall Drug...

...and an encounter with the most feared beast in the American West, the Jackalope!

We also stopped at the outskirts of the Badlands, where it was warmer and hazy...

...before heading on to Devil's Tower, where under clear skies we walked around the path at the base of the boulder field.

Climbers were making their way down from the summit...

...while turkey vultures flew high above the peak.

And prairie dogs frolicked at the base of the tower!

I got to see the Milky Way spread out in all its glory, fall asleep to crickets and wake to singing birds, but sadly I had only the crappiest of internet connections and could neither answer mail nor post anything! And of course there's no phone signal. So here's hoping this gets through!
Tags: trip west 08

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