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The Little Review
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Poem for Tuesday and Lake Whetstone Goslings


The Lightkeeper
By Carolyn Forché


A night without ships. Foghorns called into walled cloud, and you
still alive, drawn to the light as if it were a fire kept by monks,
darkness once crusted with stars, but now death-dark as you sail inward.
Through wild gorse and sea wrack, through heather and torn wool
you ran, pulling me by the hand, so I might see this for once in my life:
the spin and spin of light, the whirring of it, light in search of the lost,
there since the era of fire, era of candles and hollow-wick lamps,
whale oil and solid wick, colza and lard, kerosene and carbide,
the signal fires lighted on this perilous coast in the Tower of Hook.
You say to me stay awake, be like the lensmaker who died with his
lungs full of glass, be the yew in blossom when bees swarm, be
their amber cathedral and even the ghosts of Cistercians will be kind to you.
In a certain light as after rain, in pearled clouds or the water beyond,
seen or sensed water, sea or lake, you would stop still and gaze out
for a long time. Also when fireflies opened and closed in the pines,
and a star appeared, our only heaven. You taught me to live like this.
That after death it would be as it was before we were born. Nothing
to be afraid. Nothing but happiness as unbearable as the dread
from which it comes. Go toward the light always, be without ships.

--------

From this week's New Yorker. Forché's 2004 collection of poems is Blue Hour.

It was a very rainy Monday, and pretty uneventful -- I had a quiet morning doing laundry and other thrilling chores, then went to pick up my new glasses and met my mom for frozen yogurt and a bit of browsing in Macy's and jewelry stores. (We need to get my kids suits that fit them before my niece's Bat Mitzvah next month; they'd rather be tortured with dental implements than taken shopping for clothes.) It was a bit chilly to be really racy for Boobquake, but I did wear my lowest-cut filmy blouse with my tightest black tank top under it.

Paul made veggie Swedish meatballs out of Quorn for dinner; we have Swedish meatballs every year at my in-laws' for Christmas, so that solves the dilemma of whether Adam and I will be able to have Christmas dinner with them. In the evening we watched the 1982 HMS Pinafore at Daniel's request now that he's familiar with The Mikado -- along with The Pirates of Penzance, that's my favorite Gilbert and Sullivan operetta and the kids had never seen it, so that was fun! The making-of features on the disc were great too, both the interviews about the production and the footage of sailors on tall ships.

On Sunday when we were at Lake Whetstone, we saw some Canada geese being territorial and chasing a pair of adults and their goslings away from a particular area. For a few minutes I thought Adam was going to jump in the water and separate the aggressive geese from the babies. Here is how it went down:


Someone had been throwing breadcrumbs into the water, even though it is technically illegal, and the goose family came over to investigate.


Soon after, a pair of geese got into an aggressive posture and started chasing the family.


Daddy goose got into an aggressive posture as well...


...and did some flapping and hissing.


Then one of the stealth geese got too close, and the daddy goose bit his neck.


Adam took this photo of the fight with his new camera. Impressive, yes?


Meanwhile the other aggressive goose chased the mother and babies out of the area.


None of the aggressive geese actually attacked the babies, though one of them got dunked at one point. The parents paddled off with them, and the mean geese went back to patrol the shore.
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