The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Thursday

That Nature is a Herclitean Fire
By Gerard Manley Hopkins

Cloud-puff ball, torn tufts, tossed pillows flaunt forth, then
    chevy on the air-
built thoroughfare: heaven-roysterers, in gay-gangs they
    throng; they glitter in marches.
Down roughcast, down dazzling whitewash, wherever an elm
Shivelights and shadowtackle in long lashes lace, lance, and
Delightfully the bright wind boisterous ropes, wrestles, beats
    earth bare
Of yestertempest's creases; in pool and rut peel parches
Squandering ooze to squeezed dough, crust, dust; stanches,
Squadroned masks and manmarks tredmire toil there
Footfettered in it. Million-fueled, nature's bonfire burns on.
But quench her bonniest, dearest to her, her clearest-selved
Man, how fast his firedint, his mark on mind, is gone!
Both are in an unfathomable, all is in an enormous dark
Drowned. O pity and indignation! Manshape, that shone
Sheer off dissereval, a star, death blots black out; nor mark
    Is any of him at all so stark
But vastness blurs and time beats level. Enough! the
A heart's-clarion! Away grief's gasping, joyless days,
        Across my foundering deck shone
A beacon, an eternal beam. Flesh fade, and mortal trash
Fall to the residuary worm; world's wildfire, leave but ash;
    In a flash, at a trumpet crash,
I am all at once what Christ is, since he was what I am, and
This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, patch, matchwood, immortal
        Is immortal diamond.


"Most of Hopkins's adult life was spent as a Jesuit, studying, preaching, working among the poor of Liverpool, going on retreat, instructing students in ancient languages at University College, Dublin," writes Michael Dirda in his review of Paul Mariani's new biography of the poet in Sunday's Washington Post Book World. "Even though he passionately loved poetry and music, could draw trees and rocks and flowers with a draftsman's skill and describe them with a naturalist's eye ('What would the world be, once bereft/Of wet and of wildness?') and enjoyed learning languages (even difficult ones like Welsh), he was, above all, a spiritual being. The world, he once wrote, was 'charged with the grandeur of God.'"

I'm quite sleepy from post-election hysteria so forgive any lack of coherence in this post. In the morning, I took Daisy to the vet for her one-year checkup and vaccines; it all went well, though none of the cats was allowed to eat this morning so they could do fasting blood work on her, so there was yowling in the house before I left as well as in the car on the way to the vet and back. After I dropped Daisy off at home and fed the poor starving cats, I went to lunch at California Pizza Kitchen with gblvr and wolfshark, where I'm afraid we talked politics more than fannish matters, but it was still celebratory! Back at home, younger son worked on Chinese homework with a grumpy sleepy cat in his lap sleeping off her distemper shot, and older son returned from a day of school disrupted less by the election than by the shooting last weekend of three students, one of whom died. The counselors are still trying to work out exactly what the gang issues are and how to confront them.

The Capitol Building from inside the main doors of the National Museum of the American Indian.

Native American gold icons and ornaments. The expectation of finding gold was a major reason Europeans came to the New World.

These are examples of native figurines from the Our Universes exhibit, some religious, some purely decorative...

...and these are guns brought by the Europeans, some traded to Native Americans, some used in combat against them.

A health charm, a neck charm, a bracelet and a naadaabaande bedaaheestlu, all from the late 1800s.

A Native American violin and bow and a guitar.

A Hawaiian canoe.

"The Beaver and the Mink," a gift from British Columbia, made by Susan A. Point of the Coast Salish.

In the evening we watched Elizabeth: The Golden Age, which is finally On Demand on Comcast. I utterly love that film, despite historical absurdities surpassed only by the anachronisms of the costumes. It's The Lord of the Rings in which Elizabeth plays all the major characters except Sauron and Saruman! (Well, and Gandalf -- John Dee plays him -- and the Orcs, here played by the Spaniards. And Arwen, whose role goes to Clive Owen.) Then after the kids were in bed, we watched the season premiere of Brotherhood -- yes, I know it was on Monday but this is what the election has done to me, making me put off that and this week's Sarah Jane Adventures and several episodes of Merlin even though there was no Pushing Daisies this week. Apart from brutally taut dialogue and weekly dose of Jason Isaacs, I am not entirely sure why I watch Brotherhood, which I really don't like! The acting is fantastic, though watching Michael kick a cop to death is about the last thing I want to see.

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