The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Tuesday

The Work
By Allen Grossman

A great light is the man who knows the woman he loves

A great light is the woman who knows the man she loves

And carries the light into room after room arousing
The sleepers and looking hard into the face of each
And then sends them asleep again with a kiss
Or a whole night of love

                          and goes on and on until
The man and woman who carry the great lights of the
Knowledge of the one lover enter the room

                                           toward which
Their light is sent and fit the one and the other torch
In a high candelabrum and there is such light
That children leap up

                      unless the sea swallow them
In the crossing or hatred or war against which do not
Pray only but be vigilant and set your hand to the work.


Another from Poet's Choice in Sunday's Washington Post Book World. "In 'The Work' Grossman sets out his purpose on the planet: to love, which for Grossman also involves writing," notes Mary Karr. "Grossman's lighting of the candelabrum is meant to arouse the sleepers, inciting us to awaken into love. Amid the sweetness of children leaping up, he cautions us to be vigilant against evil, not only to pray but to act. I'd like to crown him one of our great Low Moderns; he's Wallace Stevens with stronger stories to anchor lame minds such as my own; he's Eliot without footnotes. Like all great poets, he faithfully serves both word and world -- and us." The poem can be found in The Ether Dome and Other Poems: New and Selected.

Most of my day consisted of laundry and more laundry. I am pleased to say that, six loads later, I have everything washed, dried, sorted and folded but the towels and sheets, plus a few random items used for camping. I consoled myself from the mountain of clothes by watching Kiss of the Spider Woman, which arrived from along with the Robot Chicken Star Wars DVD for the kids, which made everyone happy. I bought Spider Woman on VHS the week it came out in 1986 for something like $79, so getting the two-disc set was pure pleasure; I haven't even watched the documentary yet. That movie never fails to make me cry and holds up better than just about anything I've ever seen. Otherwise, I did lots of unpacking and putting away of small items while stacking others in corners to be repacked for the beach at the end of next week. Here, have some festive holiday spirit from the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg several months back, plus a gratuitous photo of a happy deer shamelessly eating a neighbor's ornamental plants.


We had dinner with my parents, who had a birthday cake for Adam since they didn't get to see him on his actual birthday. My father had gotten himself a Wii Fit but needed Daniel to demonstrate its setup. My kids want one of those too, and I told them that if they call around or search the web to find one in stock, I'd go pick it up for them -- they have the money for it -- but I wasn't about to spend my morning tracking one down. So thus far, we remain Wii Fit free, though the kids did have friends over playing games after a few hours at the pool while I did chores. I suspect that tomorrow there will be more aggressive campaigning for the Wii stuff!

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