The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday

The Old Lizard
By Federico García Lorca
Translated by Lysander Kemp

In the parched path
I have seen the good lizard
(one drop of crocodile)
With his green frock-coat
of an abbot of the devil,
his correct bearing
and his stiff collar,
he has the sad air
of an old professor.
Those faded eyes
of a broken artist,
how they watch the afternoon
in dismay!

Is this, my friend,
your twilight constitutional?
Please use your cane,
you are very old, Mr. Lizard,
and the children of the village
may startle you.
What are you seeking in the path,
my near-sighted philosopher,
if the wavering phantasm
of the parched afternoon
has broken the horizon?

Are you seeking the blue alms
of the moribund heaven?
A penny of a star?
Or perhaps
you've been reading a volume
of Lamartine, and you relish
the plateresque trills
of the birds?

(You watch the setting sun,
and your eyes shine,
oh, dragon of the frogs,
with a human radiance.
Ideas, gondolas without oars,
cross the shadowy
waters of your
burnt-out eyes.)

Have you come looking
for that lovely lady lizard,
green as the wheatfields
of May,
as the long locks
of sleeping pools,
who scorned you, and then
left you in your field?
Oh, sweet idyll, broken
among the sweet sedges!
But, live! What the devil!
I like you.
The motto "I oppose
the serpent" triumphs
in that grand double chin
of a Christian archbishop.

Now the sun has dissolved
in the cup of the mountains,
and the flocks
cloud the roadway.
It is the hour to depart:
leave the dry path
and your meditations.
You will have time
to look at the stars
when the worms are eating you
at their leisure.

Go home to your house
by the village, of the crickets!
Good night, my friend
Mr. Lizard!

Now the field is empty,
the mountains dim,
the roadway deserted.
Only, now and again,
a cuckoo sings in the darkness
of the poplar trees.


On Tuesday the county officially called off school for the remainder of 2009, citing the snow emergency, canceling classes for Wednesday which means they've now used three of the five allotted snow days for the school year and had better hope we don't get another big storm in January or February. I suspect the issue is getting the parking lots and front walkways clear, because most of the local roads are passable while the major roads are clear in the driving lanes, terrible in the breakdown lanes. I don't want to drive in my still-not-entirely-plowed neighborhood, but fortunately I didn't have to, since my father took me and the boys to Bagel City for lunch, then schlepped us to Target and Home Depot in search of a snow shovel to replace ours, which broke over the weekend. We had no luck anywhere -- were told that Strosniders Hardware was sold out and warned that CVS had very flimsy shovels -- so we gave up, and I will hope for no more snow till after Christmas!

We watched Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa in the evening since it was On Demand and we all enjoyed it in the theater, much more than the first Madagascar really -- the female animal roles are still pretty thankless, but no worse than The Lion King, which it parodies along with Joe vs. the Volcano and West Side Story ("That isn't fighting!") plus cracks at '70s music and fighting penguins. Then we put on the pretty sad Maaco Bowl in which BYU completely pwned the Beavers, though at least the Oregon State didn't end up scoreless. I had a cat snuggled up against me all evening so I was nice and warm, at least. Speaking of whom...

Daisy grooms Rosie (or perhaps subtly tries to pesk her off the spot she wants on the couch) during the cats' snow days.

Cinnamon mostly stayed in Adam's room, which is the warmest in the house, leaving the foot of his bed only to eat and occasionally check out the birds at the feeder...

...while Daisy spent as much time as possible in illicit enjoyment of the heating vents, which we regularly had to nudge her off.

In weather like this, it is not unusual to have a problem making the bed.

Rosie has spent as much of the past few days as possible on the old coats on the couch, which we put there to give away, only to see them claimed by the cats. Here she is helping Daniel play Spore.

Adam has broken a bracket on his braces, meaning that I must take him to the orthodontist -- whose office is located in White Flint Mall on Rockville Pike -- on Wednesday. Prepare for lots of profanity in my tweets.

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