Angel with a Pocketbook (a sculpture by William Edmondson)
By Elizabeth Spires
I never thought I'd get to heaven but I did.
I closed my eyes and died, then flew straight up
through clouds that looked like cotton candy,
clutching my pocketbook. The angel at the gate
said I wouldn't need a pocketbook in heaven,
but I held on tight and said I would.
We argued for a while and then he let me in.
Which proves that stubbornness must be a virtue...
At least sometimes.
As you can see, I'm not the airy, wings-aflutter sort.
I'm a two-feet-on-the-ground, no-nonsense type
who can't carry a tune for trying, and heights,
even a choir loft, make me dizzy.
But Heaven, I'm told, is interested in goodness,
not sameness, and though it's not for me
to judge how good I was in life
somebody must have thought I was
or else why would I be here?
Of course, I'd rather be in heaven
than you know where, but I'll confess
sometimes I miss how real the earth was,
miss lipstick, hairdos, the sound of my high heels
click-click-clicking on the sidewalk,
pocketbook swinging at my side.
It's foggy here, and every time I take a step
I sink a little into cloud, then bounce back up.
They say, just give it time and my memories
will fade like a dress left hanging in the sun.
That soon I'll throw a choir robe over my head
and, with a Hallelujah!, sing as good as anyone.
Until that happens, I'm keeping my pocketbook!
From Poet's Choice in Sunday's online Washington Post. "William Edmondson, a Nashville stone carver (c. 1874-1951), was the first black artist to have a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, in 1937," explains Spires. "The son of freed slaves, he said he carved by divine inspiration. By the end of his life, over 300 of his remarkable stone carvings of humans, animals and mythological and Biblical figures were in public museums and private collections." The poem is from her recent book I Heard God Talking to Me: William Edmondson and His Stone Carvings.
I have had a lovely if rather long day in Pennsylvania, which started with getting up early so we could go to the Hanover Market at 9:30 and pick up a coconut cake before they sold out of that and the Easter chocolates that my father-in-law wanted. The market is quite large and has baked goods, jams, crafts and candy produced locally by Mennonite families, plus terrific prices on imported British tea. We came back briefly to drop off our purchases, then got back in the van and drove to Dienner's Country Restaurant in Ronks, which is a Pennsylvania Dutch town near Paradise and Intercourse -- we've eaten there before, and the food is always very good, with dozens of desserts, particularly pies.
After lunch, we walked to a nearby Amish quilt shop and The Outhouse -- a store that sells all manner of practical jokes as well as local souvenirs and pop culture collectibles and toys. Then we drove to Franklin & Marshall to visit the North Museum, a local science museum. First we went to the planetarium, which has a show on the planets narrated by Kate Mulgrew, which cracked me up for reasons known to many of you; then we went to see the dinosaur bones, Native American artifacts, large display of old-fashioned cabinets full of minerals and taxidermied animals; then we went to two visiting exibits, one on the wildlife and geology of the Arctic, another a large display of photos of penguins. Our last stop was the reptile room, which has live turtles, snakes, lizards, and some poisonous creatures.
Daniel on a fake potty in The Outhouse, which also has a trailer-hitch toilet seat and a fake man peeing in the sink in the women's bathroom.
A display outside the North Museum of the temporary exhibits on the Arctic and Antarctic.
I quote Adam quoting an internet horror: "Narwhals, narwhals, swimming in the ocean, causing a commotion..."
An adult and child King penguin bond in this photo in the temporary display featuring images of Emperor, Gentoo, Chinstrap and Adelie penguins.
Minerals under blacklight in the Flourescent Room.
Some of the hundreds of stuffed birds on display in the Cabinet Museum.
A Peninsula Cooter in a tank in the Reptile Room. (Wasn't there a reptile room in the Series of Unfortunate Events books?)
I was very fortunate through the kindness of another to get to watch "Planet of the Dead"; I was very unhappy with the way Doctor Who ended last season and with casting spoilers for the long-term future of the franchise, but I could not have loved Michelle Ryan and David Tennant more in this one. I've loved Ryan in everything I've ever seen her in -- I was one of the five people who never missed an episode of the Bionic Woman revival, and I adore her on Merlin -- but even so, I have little faith in the writing of the Doctor's companions at this point, so she was an utterly delightful surprise.
I laughed more than I expected given the gravity of the situation after the wonderful comic Pink Panther opening -- I was a bit afraid we were going to get Vash to the Doctor's Captain Picard, but I needn't have worried. As soon as the Doctor came out with the complaint about humans on buses always blaming him, I got nervous about who was going to die, but everyone they killed was either an alien or a character we barely knew (or a planetary genocide, but I've come to take those for granted on this series).
I loved Christina from the moment she appointed herself leader on Tattooine with the extra sun, and had him saying "Yes, ma'am" -- she had everything I liked about River Song with none of the "You Must Love Me" baggage, and I didn't even mind her kissing him because his expression was so priceless. She had so many great lines: "You seem to be the brain box, so start boxing," "Did I say I hated you? I was lying," "Excuse me! A gentleman never goes through a lady's possessions!" Telling him she often has the effect of raising the temperature, insisting that they're equal mysteries, responding without the least concern either for or against to the revelation that he's an alien.
And speaking better French than he does, announcing that she loves things more the worse they get, putting on her gear and diving headfirst to retrieve the crystal, snapping the force field back into place to trap the metal devourer...totally my kind of woman, and doing it all for herself, not for him or even with any sense of him as global savior. She gave up that cup to save her own life. She's no Rose or Martha and I mean that in a good way; she reminds me of Donna the most, and she gets to fly free at the end, one woman sensible enough to realize she wants the TARDIS more than the man.
The Doc had some very nice moments too, alternating between rolling his eyes at Malcolm and calling him a genius -- that "I love you! I love you!" moment at the end had me howling -- speaking the Star Wars bug-people language, talking about meeting King Aethelstan, admitting he stole the TARDIS, "They feed off what others leave behind from their behind," "You don't have to kiss me, either," "I'll just step inside this police box and arrest myself," and his aha! explanation to Christine when she asked rational questions about why the metal devourers can't travel at wormhole speed across a planet, the sort of challenges the Doctor rarely gets.
I thought Angela from Unit was going to get killed for the crime of suggesting that Malcolm sacrifice the Doctor to save Earth by closing the wormhole, and I thought the woman from the bus with ESP who saw death coming might be the sacrificial victim, so given this show's history with dead or catatonic women and tossing aside people of color, "Planet of the Dead" didn't do too badly. Nathan and Barclay didn't get much screen time but they did get jobs in Unit, meaning we could see them again, and there was only that one brief maudlin moment where the Doctor announced that people have traveled with him and he lost them all before his good mood returned, even with Carmen's melodramatic prophecy. ("Your song is ending, sir. It is returning through the dark. He will knock four times." Oooo-kay.) I can't wait to watch this one again.
I stopped trying to read my friends list after the tenth post about the superiority of Dreamwidth and trying to import entries and ooh how can we crosspost and only my very best friends will get my codes... I remember when it was JournalFen that was going to be the savior of everyone so long as you could get a code, then when it was InsaneJournal that we were morally obligated to support in the name of free fandom, and I'm still waiting for the Archive of Our Own that's going to be better than the source material itself, so you will forgive me if I am both skeptical and annoyed at the cliquishness of people insisting that we had better grovel our way onto this new bandwagon or fandom will leave us behind. Oddly enough, fandom seems to keep finding its way back here...
Happy Easter if you are celebrating!