Lady Freedom Among Us
By Rita Dove
don't lower your eyes
or stare straight ahead to where
you think you ought to be going
don't mutter oh no
not another one
get a job fly a kite
go bury a bone
with her oldfashioned sandals
with her leaden skirts
with her stained cheeks and whiskers and heaped up trinkets
she has risen among us in blunt reproach
she has fitted her hair under a hand-me-down cap
and spruced it up with feathers and stars
slung over her shoulder she bears
the rainbowed layers of charity and murmurs
all of you even the least of you
don't cross to the other side of the square
don't think another item to fit on a tourist's agenda
consider her drenched gaze her shining brow
she who has brought mercy back into the streets
and will not retire politely to the potter's field
having assumed the thick skin of this town
its gritted exhaust its sunscorch and blear
she rests in her weathered plumage
don't think you can forget her
don't even try
she's not going to budge
no choice but to grant her space
crown her with sky
for she is one of the many
and she is each of us
From The Washington Post's Poet's Choice, a column that Rita Dove wrote from 2000 to 2002. "I read this poem at the ceremony commemorating the 200th anniversary of the United States Capitol and the restoration of the Statue of Freedom to the Capitol dome on October 23, 1993," writes Dove. "It was first published in the Congressional Record of the same day."
It was a gray, drizzly day here and older son had a bit of a sore throat, so we stayed close to home. Both kids wanted to go to Toys R Us to download Regigigas, a Pokemon whom I gather will be valuable when Pokemon Platinum is released next weekend (I may have every bit of that information wrong, you'd have to ask Daniel and Adam). We walked to A.C. Moore in the same shopping center to look at table cards; I am still looking for a cute easily printable clip-art penguin, not to mention a DC-area very inexpensive videographer and photographer...anyone know of any? And we stopped at World Market since it was right there, tempting us with Bombay potatoes, vindaloo simmer sauce and imported Easter chocolates that made me very nostalgic for England -- we've been there during Easter twice.
Naturally crabs make up the majority of specimens in the exhibit, but there is also a tank of increasingly rare diamondback terrapins, the state reptile of Maryland.
These turtles are unusual in that they thrive in brackish water and eat fiddler crabs.
These turtles used to be considered a delicacy and were hunted almost to extinction.
Though they live all over the east coast, they are most closely associated with my state because of the mascot of the University of Maryland.
Speaking of Terrapins...though Maryland lost to Duke in the semifinals of the ACC tournament (grrr), they were given a #10 seed in the NCAA tournament, which is pretty good considering that at the end of the regular season it didn't look at all certain that they'd get into the big show at all. Michigan also got a #10 seed, so I won't have to listen to any gloating from the Wolverine fans in my family, and Georgetown didn't even get into the tournament. Unfortunately, UConn got a top seed despite losing that massively long overtime game last week, meaning I will have to hear about it from my in-laws when they get back from California (where Cal State Northridge got into the tournament too, which pleases me since I've been there). I shall follow my usual pattern and root not so much for Pittsburgh, but against North Carolina, to win it all!
I was having an urge to watch Dangerous Liaisons -- I blame Glenn Close, Michelle Pfeiffer and Uma Thurman collectively -- so that was my evening entertainment. It was as terrific as ever, though I will never stop wondering what Alan Rickman would have been like playing Valmont with the rest of that cast (it would have been too utterly preposterous that the Marquise would have been sleeping with Keanu Reeves). I'm sorry to hear that Ron Silver has died; he may have said some idiotic things politically in the past few years, but he did some terrific work onstage, on film and on television -- I was lucky enough to see him all three places I may need to watch Enemies: A Love Story again next -- hey, it has Anjelica Huston, too.