The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Friday and da Vinci Codes

Song of Nature
By Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mine are the night and morning,
The pits of air, the gulf of space,
The sportive sun, the gibbous moon,
The innumerable days.

I hid in the solar glory,
I am dumb in the pealing song,
I rest on the pitch of the torrent,
In slumber I am strong.

No numbers have counted my tallies,
No tribes my house can fill,
I sit by the shining Fount of Life,
And pour the deluge still;

And ever by delicate powers
Gathering along the centuries
From race on race the rarest flowers,
My wreath shall nothing miss.

And many a thousand summers
My apples ripened well,
And light from meliorating stars
With firmer glory fell.

I wrote the past in characters
Of rock and fire the scroll,
The building in the coral sea,
The planting of the coal.

And thefts from satellites and rings
And broken stars I drew,
And out of spent and aged things
I formed the world anew;

What time the gods kept carnival,
Tricked out in star and flower,
And in cramp elf and saurian forms
They swathed their too much power.

Time and Thought were my surveyors,
They laid their courses well,
They boiled the sea, and baked the layers
Or granite, marl, and shell.

But he, the man-child glorious,--
Where tarries he the while?
The rainbow shines his harbinger,
The sunset gleams his smile.

My boreal lights leap upward,
Forthright my planets roll,
And still the man-child is not born,
The summit of the whole.

Must time and tide forever run?
Will never my winds go sleep in the west?
Will never my wheels which whirl the sun
And satellites have rest?

Too much of donning and doffing,
Too slow the rainbow fades,
I weary of my robe of snow,
My leaves and my cascades;

I tire of globes and races,
Too long the game is played;
What without him is summer's pomp,
Or winter's frozen shade?

I travail in pain for him,
My creatures travail and wait;
His couriers come by squadrons,
He comes not to the gate.

Twice I have moulded an image,
And thrice outstretched my hand,
Made one of day, and one of night,
And one of the salt sea-sand.

One in a Judaean manger,
And one by Avon stream,
One over against the mouths of Nile,
And one in the Academe.

I moulded kings and saviours,
And bards o'er kings to rule;--
But fell the starry influence short,
The cup was never full.

Yet whirl the glowing wheels once more,
And mix the bowl again;
Seethe, fate! the ancient elements,
Heat, cold, wet, dry, and peace, and pain.

Let war and trade and creeds and song
Blend, ripen race on race,
The sunburnt world a man shall breed
Of all the zones, and countless days.

No ray is dimmed, no atom worn,
My oldest force is good as new,
And the fresh rose on yonder thorn
Gives back the bending heavens in dew.


I had a pretty excellent day! Daniel got scores of five -- the top score -- on all of his AP exams (Statistics, Calculus B/C, and World History)! And I got to have lunch with gblvr for her birthday! We met at the mall since she wanted crepes and Sephora, meaning I got to put on bright blue eyeshadow and Nanette Lepore perfume after finishing our delicious Nutella-and-raspberry dessert crepe. Of course we also went to Brighton, Claire's, L'Occitane en Provence, and lots of other girly stores. My mother had taken my kids out to lunch after recruiting them to help her move her stuff from her Hebrew school classroom -- next year all Hebrew classes are meeting on Sundays instead of the younger kids on Saturday, the older ones on Sunday, so things must be shifted to accommodate the more crowded building -- and it sounds like we were all in the mall at the same time, but we didn't run into each other until getting home within a few minutes of each other.

It was a comparatively quiet evening; we had Tofu Marsala for dinner, which was also excellent, then watched the two parts of Star Trek: The Next Generation's "Descent," since I need to review it tomorrow. (Adam, who spent the evening making epic fractal art with Apophysis, says it would have been better had parts not reminded him of Ayn Rand's Anthem.) After a brief break so he and I could shop for our Superpoke pets -- my penguin had to have the "prehistoric cave" stuff -- we watched the new Futurama, which was very timely for our family since it was called "The Duh-Vinci Code" and actually involved some of the Leonardo da Vinci inventions that we saw at National Geographic last weekend. The theme was genius, so both kids were very amused -- my favorite lines were the professor's "I hate these nerds! Just cause I'm stupider than them, they think they're smarter than me!" to the secret society members and Fry's "You two make me ashamed to call myself an idiot!" to the professor and da Vinci. Here are some more photos from Da Vinci: The Genius:

This is Da Vinci's aerial screw, which will look familiar to viewers of this week's Futurama.

And this is a small model of a flying machine that will look familiar to viewers of Star Trek: Voyager.

Here is a full-size model of one of da Vinci's designs for a wing, from a study for human flight.

Da Vinci also created an anemoscope, which works very much like a modern weather vane.

Though a pacifist at heart, da Vinci imagined this steam cannon...

...and this heavy cannon, sketched in action to impress a patron.

The exhibit has reproductions of his drawings of human anatomy, sketched in haste during illegal dissections...

...and a large reproduction of da Vinci's self-portrait at the entrance to the exhibit.

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