If I May
By Brooks Haxton
I would like to thank (besides my family, you,
my teachers, friends, and readers) hydrogen
for fueling the stars without which poetry
would not exist. The sun has been the star
most crucial to my work, but distant stars
have been there for me, too, and planets, meteors,
the moon. About the moon, I'm grateful
that our boys left flags up there, and brought back
rocks and dust. I'd like to thank the dust.
The oceans may or may not have put
molecules together that first time
to form a living cell, but I would like
to thank the oceans for that dreamy look
they give us when the cameras turn toward Earth
from outer space. . . .
. . . God I want to thank
especially, if He exists, which I believe
He does. He may not. Probably not.
But I would like to thank Him. Thanks.
"In 'If I May,' Mississippi poet Brooks Haxton drolly springs from the worldly occasion of receiving a poetry prize to a God whose existence is -- though scientifically dubious -- praiseworthy," writes Mary Karr in another poem from Poet's Choice in Sunday's Washington Post Book World. "In this season of store-bought pies and ho-hum prayers, take these...as genuine appetizers." The poem is from Haxton's book They Lift Their Wings To Cry.
Daniel's high school chamber choir performed at a local Barnes & Noble for a fundraiser on Sunday afternoon, so after Adam got home from Hebrew school, that was our major activity for the day -- we met my parents at the bookstore and watched the concert together. This year the guitar ensemble joined the singers, which made the space rather crowded, since the PTSA was also there with a table of books requested for the media center and all the families were attempting to pack in near the small stage in the children's book section. Despite the tight fit, it was a nice show -- a mix of secular and religious holiday music ("Angels We Have Heard on High," a Latin chant, the "Hallelujah" chorus from Handel's Messiah, two songs in Hebrew) and a bunch of popular songs, including the Beatles' "Yesterday" and Seals & Crofts' "Summer Breeze." (You can see a photo of the same fundraiser from last year.)
The choir director introduced the groups.
A fiddle accompanied a rendition of the Scottish song "Over the Hills."
The guitar students had to sit and wait while the chorus sang "Angels We Have Heard on High."
Some of the audience got a bit restless.
Including my own younger son, who went to get something to read -- convenient that we were in a bookstore, huh?
Daniel and his fellow singers seemed to be enjoying themselves, though.
All the kids posed for a photo. Probably they all knew their parents would buy them peppermint hot chocolate at the Starbucks upstairs when they were finished, or Dunkin' Donuts across the street...or, in the case of my kids, both!
Snicked from several people, finished with several minutes to spare, though Ohio was the last one I remembered...I wonder what that says about me, or about Ohio:
In the evening we half-watched National Geographic's Egypt Unwrapped: The Scorpion King while working with kids on homework, then paid more attention to Herod's Lost Tomb, which was very interesting since I remember the discovery was dismissed as a fraud or a mistake for a while. Then we all watched A Colbert Christmas, which was not entirely age-appropriate but we were all laughing too hard to cover anyone's ears. And I'm very glad we were recording it, because otherwise we'd be out buying that DVD on Tuesday. I was snickering from the time Colbert said, "I'm so excited right now, I'm sporting a Yule log," and it only got worse when he had a goat dressed as a reindeer and a mouse, and then I totally lost it when Jon Stewart showed up and asked Colbert to tell the Pontiff "Gut Yontif." And then Colbert wound up playing dreidel against a latke and losing! And God put him on hold! I don't suppose anyone knows where I can find the lyrics to that completely pornographic nutmeg song?
And in the best news of the season, Adam's impacted incisor, which has cost thousands of dollars in orthodontics and was anticipated to require another thousand for oral surgery, has broken through his gums! Hopefully this means it is finally moving into place! So the fact that the Redskins won is just a minor cause for celebration.