The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
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Poem for Sunday


Try to Praise the Mutilated World
By Adam Zagajewski


Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June's long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You've seen the refugees going nowhere,
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

--------

"I'm a crank whose natural state is ingratitude, so I need to ingest some poetry to gear up for Thanksgiving," writes Mary Karr in Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. "Polish poet Adam Zagajewski's 'Try to Praise the Mutilated World' is as helpful as it is moving because it acknowledges some verifiable causes of grumpiness...for Zagajewski, historical carnage is endured by loving those close to us ('when we were together/in a white room'). The poem moves from large to small to large again."

My new Canon Powershot arrived in the mail right around when older son got back from volunteering at Hebrew school, so without much time to read the manual, I put batteries and a SD card in and took it to the College Park Aviation Museum for the last week of an exhibit on Snoopy as the World War I Flying Ace. I don't remember when we last visited the museum, but it was at least eight years ago, before I had this journal; the first time we visited was the weekend it opened in September 1998, when there was a wonderful air show at the adjacent airport and Adam was a toddler playing on the toy planes. Because I was new to the camera, I couldn't figure out how to set the shutter or flash properly for many photos, and there was too much glare off the glass to get any decent pictures of the Peanuts cartoons; here is one from the touring exhibit at another museum), and here are some photos from the exhibit hall itself:


The plane and a statue of Max Miller, a World War I aviator who made the inaugural air mail flight and continued to work for the post office in College Park. He died flying mail to New Jersey in 1920.


A model Bleriot XI, built in France by Louis Bleriot who was the first man to fly over the English Channel. A popular monoplane in College Park when it arrived in 1911, this one was built at the museum based on drawings from that era.


A reproduction 1910 Wright Model B constructed at the Virginia Aviation and Machine Company using the same materials and techniques as Orville and Wilbur Wright.


In 1909, Wilbur Wright taught military lieutenants to fly in College Park. Lieutenant Hap Arnold taught pilots using the original model of this plane at the first US military aviation school.


This was Orville Wright's pocket watch, brought to College Park from Fort Myer where he conducted test flights for the army.


And this is a replica of Orville Wright, an animatronic figure who explains the very early history of flight.


One of the photos on display shows pilots Tony Little, Frances Sykes and Dick Bircher with trophies won at an air meet at the College Park Airport. The photo was taken by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard for The Sportsman Pilot when he was a journalist.


College Park Airport is just outside the museum, visible through the large glass windows that cover the back of the museum.
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When we got home in the late afternoon, I folded laundry and watched the eighth episode of Merlin, which may be my favorite of the series so far -- it gave Morgana lots to do for a change, and it confirmed that the writers aren't planning to turn her into the stereotypical bitch from Excalibur who seduces and betrays Arthur...we're miles off any version of the myth I've ever read, even the revisionism of The Mists of Avalon or David Franzoni's King Arthur, but they're telling entertaining stories, so it's fine with me. After dinner we put on the Maryland-Florida State game, but things were going so badly early on that we turned it off and watched Juno instead, which hopefully the kids saw as a cautionary tale. *g* Put the Terps back on for long enough to ascertain that they would not get to compete for the ACC title, watched Oklahoma humiliating Texas Tech, and now it's time for Saturday Night Live.
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