By Jason Shinder
A poem written three thousand years ago
about a man who walks among horses
grazing on a hill under the small stars
comes to life on a page in a book
and the woman reading the poem,
in the silence between the words,
in her kitchen, filled, with a gold, metallic light,
finds the experience of living in that moment
so clearly described as to make her feel finally known
by someone -- and every time the poem is read,
no matter her situation or her age,
this is more or less what happens.
"Jason Shinder describes the experience of intimate connection in his stunningly direct and forthright last book, Stupid Hope," writes Edward Hirsch in this week's Poet's Choice. "The entire book was written under the shadow and stigma -- the mortal terror -- of a deadly cancer. Shinder tries to come to grips with dying too soon, and his testament shines with the light of last things...this gives special poignancy to the experience he names 'Eternity.' The entire poem is one sentence long -- 12 lines, which alternative between one and two-line stanzas. These create elastic units within the lyric, speeding up and slowing down the rhythm, isolating and intensifying individual moments...the poem recreates a moment so radiant and piercing that it expands and overflows ordinary time. It dramatizes one of the luminous mysteries of lyric poetry."
Daniel turned 16 on Saturday. When pressed about what he would like to do for the day, he hemmed, hawed, and finally said he wanted to play miniature golf...at which point it began to rain. So instead we took the kids to Best Buy and Borders, where Daniel declined to purchase The Beatles: Rock Band and asked for Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters -- I guess it's 50-50 whether we've raised him well or not. He did ask to be taken out to dinner...to Cici's Pizza, and again I don't know whether to celebrate his frugality or weep at his lack of taste (Adam was pulling for The Melting Pot or at least Legal Seafood). We got Daniel one of the Simpsons' box sets, an XKCD collection, and whatever the latest Mario and Luigi DS game is. He doesn't seem to mind that his birthday was low-key, so I am considering it a nice calm family day.
In the evening, after catching up on the disastrous Terrapins score -- we saw a bit of the much more encouraging Virginia Tech-Miami score -- we watched some Due South, first "Asylum" from the third season, then the first three episodes of the second season because dementordelta arrived. The plan, technically, is that we are going to the Pennsylvania Renfaire on Sunday. Whether that happens given the rapidly deteriorating weather forecast remains to be seen. At any rate, she brought pie and Paul made a cookie cake, so we celebrated with birthday candles!