By Sharon Olds
Q belonged to Q.&A.,
to questions, and to foursomes, and fractions,
it belonged to the Queen, to Quakers, to quintets—
within its compound in the dictionary dwelt
the quill pig, and quince beetle,
and quetzal, and quail. Quailing was part of Q’s
quiddity—the Q quaked
and quivered, it quarrelled and quashed. No one was
quite sure where it had come from, but it had
travelled with the K, they were the two voiceless
velar Semitic consonants, they went
back to the desert, to caph and koph.
And K has done a lot better—
29 pages in Webster’s Third
to Q’s 13. And though Q has much
to be proud of, from Q.& I. detector
through quinoa, sometimes these days the letter
looks like what medical students called the
Q face—its tongue lolling out.
And sometimes when you pass a folded
newspaper you can hear from within it
a keening, from all the Q’s who are being
set in type, warboarded,
made to tell and tell of the quick and the
By one of my favorite contemporary poets, from this week's New Yorker.
Tuesday again mostly involved household work. Adam and I spent most of the morning moving all the stuffed animals off the top of his bunk bed -- seven laundry baskets full, not counting the oversized ones that got placed on the lower bunk -- putting the new mattress in place, making the bed and putting everything back in place. Daniel worked on his health homework (when he got out of bed, which was, like, 11 -- he has been warned that this will not be the case tomorrow). He didn't leave for the pool at the same time as Adam because he still had plenty to get done, but eventually both kids got to swim. And I actually got some work done, at least till evening when I got distracted by the neighbors trying to rescue a lost cat and went out to see if I could do anything.
They were not fighting this weekend but recreating General J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry visiting Union Mills, where the Confederates took family horses and got a night's rest. The reenactors were cooking Hoppin' John, a terrific-smelling stew with black-eyed peas, rice, and Andouille sausage...
...for soldiers and their families. (It wasn't a perfectly accurate reenactment, but as one of the reenactors pointed out, the average age of an infantryman was 22, whereas the average age of a reenactor is 40ish.)
They brought reproduction weapons and equipment...
...plus this Civil War equivalent of a dog tag.
Though Maryland fought for the Union, it was a slave state and there were plenty of Confederate sympathizers. These Red Hat Society members talked with the reenactors about the local history.
It's a very pretty place to camp, though the original Confederates were spread all around the mill and fields across the road.
Watched Warehouse 13, enlivened this week by Joe Flanigan, though really I like Myka much better (and Joanne Kelly was trying a lot harder than Joe was, or else he is just that limited as an actor, which I think is distinctly possible). They had better start writing Claudia less paternalistically, though, or I may become irked at the X-Files/Indiana Jones/Relic Hunter ripoff stories, which only barely hold my interest because I like the cast. It's no Due South -- we watched "Vault" tonight" -- even if it does have three times as many women. Now can someone please explain to my why there seem to be people here who think it is a bad thing that Bill Clinton got Euna Lee and Laura Ling out of North Korea? If Kim Jong-Il will talk to him, how can it be a negative that Bill is taking on Hillary or Barack's job -- he's working with them, for them, and if he can kick-start disarmament talks, it is fine with me (and, I suspect, with Hillary and Barack) if he gets the credit!