The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Thursday

Last Robot Song
By Robert Pinsky

It was a little newborn god
That made the first instrument:
Sweet vibration of
Mind, mind, mind
Enclosed in its orbit.

He scooped out a turtle's shell
And strung it with a rabbit's guts.
O what a stroke to invent
Music from an empty case
Strung with bloody filaments—

The wiry rabbitflesh
Plucked or strummed,
Pulled taut across the gutted
Resonant hull of the turtle:
Music from strings that
Tremble over a hollow—
Sweet conception, sweet
Instrument of

Mind, mind, mind:
Itself a capable vibration
Thrumming from here to there
In the cloven brainflesh
Contained in its helmet of bone—
Like an electronic boxful
Of channels and filaments
Bundled inside its case,
A little musical robot

Dreamed up by the mind
Embedded in the brain
With its blood-warm channels
And its humming network
Of neurons, engendering

The newborn baby god—
As clever and violent
As his own instrument
Of sweet, all-consuming
Imagination, held
By its own vibration,

Mind, mind, mind pulled
Taut in its bony shell,
Dreaming up Heaven and Hell.


Another from this week's New Yorker, this one by The Washington Post's former Poet's Choice columnist.

It was a quiet day punctuated with bouts of screaming at the dryer, which is not working again -- it will turn on if there are fewer than ten items in it, but only for about 15 minutes, at which point it will overheat and require at least 15 minutes to cool down. So it was a very slow laundry day, considering we had clothes from traveling as well as everything that didn't get washed at the end of last week before we went away. Older son asked me if I could pick him up at school after his last exam at 2 p.m., but I begged him to take the bus and picked him up instead at the first bus stop on this side of the Beltway, then took him to get cough drops and Dayquil so he can survive his math test tomorrow.

Here once again is the Utica Mills covered bridge in Frederick County, with view of a farmhouse beyond.

This is the taller, narrower bridge at Loy's Station, also with a farmhouse beyond...

...surrounded by a field of horses. The bridge was nearly destroyed by an arsonist in 1991, but was rebuilt.

This is the view through the bridge from the other side, the direction in which one could have seen General Howard's XI Corps pursuing General Lee's army as local residents cheered the marching men in blue.

Although the Roddy Road bridge itself is still in excellent condition considering its age, the embankment and support wall is in need of repair.

The seasonal changes to Owens Creek, which was partially frozen when we saw it, undoubtedly contributes to the erosion.

Both kids have exams tomorrow, so we had a quiet afternoon and evening that mostly involved studying, though I saw bits of Jurassic Park while folding laundry (it's finally on cable, I was not missing the opportunity to record it) and we all watched a couple of episodes of Arrested Development before bedtime -- the office Christmas party episode where inappropriate couples sing "Afternoon Delight," and the office softball tournament episode where Ed Begley Jr. recruits Gob. Now we are watching Stewart and Colbert, though their "Night of History and Balls" was funnier!

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