The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Tuesday

Little Stones At My Window
By Mario Benedetti
Translated by Charles Hatfield

for roberto and adelaida

Once in a while
joy throws little stones at my window
it wants to let me know that it's waiting for me
but today I'm calm
I'd almost say even-tempered
I'm going to keep anxiety locked up
and then lie flat on my back
which is an elegant and comfortable position
for receiving and believing news

who knows where I'll be next
or when my story will be taken into account
who knows what advice I still might come up with
and what easy way out I'll take not to follow it

don't worry I won't gamble with an eviction
I won't tattoo remembering with forgetting
there are many things left to say and suppress
and many grapes left to fill our mouths

don't worry I'm convinced
joy doesn't need to throw any more little stones
I'll open the window
I'll open the window.


Uruguayan writer Benedetti died over the weekend. The Washington Post printed a Reuters obituary that said, in part, "The injustices of the dictatorship and his re-adaptation to Uruguay -- which he said had become petty and materialistic -- were major themes in his prolific six-decade body of novels, short stories, poems, essays and articles...he often quipped that his pessimism was merely 'informed optimism' and said that youth was his hope for the future. 'A writer can do a lot to change the situation, but as far as I know, no dictatorship has fallen because of a sonnet,' he said at a conference in 1997.

Except for the hour when I took Adam to a tennis lesson, I spent the entire day at home with plumbers, who were supposed to fix a small leak in the bathtub in the kids' bathroom. Except it turned out to be not such a small leak, that required cutting into the wall and doing some major alterations to the bathroom fixtures. And then, while the plumber was inspecting the pipes, he discovered that we had a leak in the big pipe that leads from all the toilets on the upper level of the house to the sewer entrance. It was very obvious when he flushed an upstairs toilet while I was standing next to the pipe -- water was leaking out around a seal halfway up. To make a long story short, we are now out a small fortune and the timing sucks. Rather than dwelling on my terrible mood, I will look at cute animals:

The pigs are permanent residents at Claude Moore Colonial Farm...

...but the sheep were hauled out to be shorn in public view for the colonial fair, which they did not sound happy about.

The permanent resident geese were strutting around by the tobacco barn, though they get put in a coop at night... do the chickens, which would otherwise be menaced by foxes and other wildlife.

I'm not sure whether the cat's job is to keep the poultry in line, scare off mice, or serve as an ambassador for the farm.

The farm keeps dairy cows and milks them for demonstrations of making butter, though this cow was enjoying the buttercups while we were there.

Just look at these piggy faces!

And the goslings, who despite already having more feathers than down are only a few weeks old.

In the evening we watched the last Hornblower film, Duty, which I don't like quite as much as the previous couple (really I'm not crazy about any of the Crazy Irish stories) but has wonderful performances from Gruffudd, Lindsay, McGann, Sean Gilder and Ron Cook. Plus it has the naval battle in the snow. Adam called Grandpa Clair for help on his Bar Mitzvah speech, since Rabbi Lustig wants to see a draft Tuesday...guess I'll be proofreading in the morning.

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