Of Distress Being Humiliated by the Classical Chinese Poets
By Hayden Carruth
Masters, the mock orange is blooming in Syracuse without
scent, having been bred by patient horticulturalists
To make this greater display at the expense of fragrance.
But I miss the jasmine of my back-country home.
Your language has no tenses, which is why your poems can
never be translated whole into English;
Your minds are the minds of men who feel and imagine
The serenity of the present, the repose of my eyes in the cool
whiteness of sterile flowers.
Even now the headsman with his great curved blade and rank
odor is stalking the byways for some of you.
When everything happens at once, no conflicts can occur.
Reality is an impasse. Tell me again
How the white heron rises from among the reeds and flies
forever across the nacreous river at twilight
Toward the distant islands.
I had a fairly nice Yom Kippur, considering -- well, and also considering that I didn't fast -- I'm not traditionally observant the other 364 days of the year, and this holiday at my current temple could give me a migraine without crashing blood sugar levels. I hung out with the kids in the morning; Adam was designing lolcats (okay, lolpenguins), Daniel was finishing computer homework and looking up something to do with Kirby on Facebook. In the afternoon, the Wonder Jews made a return appearance during the Yom Kippur family service, with an introductory movie for those who missed the Rosh Hashanah service on the huge screen that drops down from the sanctuary ceiling. I must admit that, as much as this is effective distraction, it just feeds my ability to refuse to take seriously the commandment to fast. At least it was a nice short service, not nearly as crowded as Rosh Hashanah, with gorgeous weather for the walk back to the car up Massachusetts Avenue.
We broke the fast at the home of my parents' friends who came for Rosh Hashanah dinner last week, who also had other friends and their children and grandchildren so my kids had other kids to run around with and I got to catch up with people I've known my entire life. Plus there were bagels and lox and noodle kugel and whitefish salad and several desserts. We missed half of Smallville, so I don't have a strong opinion on the storyline, though any episode that ends up with Lois and Clark flirting gets thumbs up in my book and it seems like we've had that nearly every episode this season. Tom Welling is a different actor with Erica Durance than he was with Kristin Kreuk. I just hope I didn't miss Oliver, because I didn't notice him in the part of the episode I saw.
The leaves were just beginning to change when we arrived last weekend. Now, a few days later, there's much more red and gold in the trees.
There were autumn flower displays and opportunities to make tussie mussies.
Plus the park's own flowers were blooming.
Whole Foods was giving away apples from Homestead Farm, which is where we picked our apples a few weeks ago.
There was historic farm equipment on display, from 100-year-old hand-pulled plows to creaky old tractors.
Sheep waiting to be herded by a dog...
...and a boy and his goat.
With all the terrible news -- not just the collapse of the economy, but the impending extinction of dozens of species of mammals and the likelihood that Prop 8 will pass in California (and I'm really out of money to donate to any more causes, having sent it all to the Obama campaign, wildlife organizations, and Planned Parenthood, but imagine if all the wealthy closeted gay celebrities in Hollywood put their money into countering the homophobic smear campaigns) -- I did want to link to one piece of good news: Scientists have discovered that there are actually 10 genetic types of cacao, the plant from which chocolate is made!