The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday, Young Victoria, and Rare Leopards

Lake And Maple
By Jane Hirshfield

I want to give myself
as this maple
that burned and burned
for three days without stinting
and then in two more
dropped off every leaf;
as this lake that,
no matter what comes
to its green-blue depths,
both takes and returns it.
In the still heart that refuses nothing,
the world is twice-born --
two earths wheeling,
two heavens,
two egrets reaching
down into subtraction;
even the fish
for an instant doubled,
before it is gone.
I want the fish.
I want the losing it all
when it rains and I want
the returning transparanence.
I want the place
by the edge-flowers where
the shallow sand is deceptive,
where whatever
steps in must plunge,
and I want that plunging.
I want the ones
who come in secret to drink
only in early darknes,
and I want the ones
who are swallowed.
I want the way
the water sees without eyes,
hears without ears,
shivers without will or fear
at the gentlest touch.
I want the way it
accepts the cold moonlight
and lets it pass,
the way it lets
all of of it pass
without judgment or comment.
There is a lake.
Lalla Ded sang, no larger
than one seed of mustard,
that all things return to.
O heart, if you
will not, cannot, give me the lake,
then give me the song.


Tuesday started rather dark and gloomy, but it had cleared somewhat by the afternoon and ended up being a fairly nice autumn day. I did a bunch of work in the morning, caught up on the news over lunch, and folded laundry in the early afternoon while watching The Young Victoria, which is very pretty, well-acted, and entirely predictable even if you don't know a thing about Queen Victoria. It very much follows biopic conventions, and rather than having some fun with scandalous possibilities that were very likely true, like the fact that Victoria's mother and her head-of-household were widely believed to be lovers, the movie never fails to stick to a conservative interpretation of events. What's the point of casting the delectable and much-too-young Paul Bettany as Melbourne if Victoria isn't going to flirt with him and he's not going to flirt back? Even so, the film is charming, Victoria and Albert are adorable if not exactly sexy together, and the women get a lot more attention than the men, which is all too rare in a historical movie.

Adam had tennis in the late afternoon, so once again I took a long walk through Cabin John Park while he was having his lesson. There wasn't a cross-country race this week, so I had the woods practically to myself and got to see a lot more chipmunks, squirrels, and deer -- the latter in three different places in the park, including two with antlers. We had homemade black bean soup by Paul for dinner, then we all watched Glee, which was definitely my favorite episode musically and probably my favorite episode dramatically since the premiere -- not to mention the first one in which I really loved Kurt. And Mercedes got to sing a lot! Okay, so I almost died when I realized Rachel was going to do Yentl, and her newly discovered passion for celibacy -- not that I am advocating going all the way, but she was enthusiastic about enjoying her body first season, what happened to that girl?

I like that "nice guy" Finn is portrayed as shallow and self-absorbed, praying to Cheesus for things for himself yet never once mentioning Kurt's father whom Finn himself described as the closest thing to a father he'd ever have. So often the show makes Finn and Will look good at the expense of other characters, particularly Kurt, who is often portrayed as super self-absorbed, so how great to get a reminder of all the reasons Kurt needs to be his own best advocate. Chris Colfer should get another Emmy nomination just for this episode. Also, Mercedes' arrangement of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is the best ever -- plus I love that her church choir is doing a song by a Jewish songwriter -- and getting "Losing My Religion," "Only the Good Die Young," "I Want To Hold Your Hand," and "One Of Us" is like gift after awesome gift. Definitely a keeper. And speaking of Chris Colfer, here is his "It Gets Better" recording (and here is Sarah Silverman's comment).

I saw this morning on Facebook that we're supposed to repeat last year's "breast cancer is too boring/distressing/disgusting to mention by name" status post idiocy, this time posting where we keep our purses instead of our bra colors. I resent the entire concept of this meme -- I would much rather read 200 "GET A MAMMOGRAM" status updates so that even people who have absolutely no need of mammograms would be aware that it's not a shameful word. I know I've talked about Breast Cancer Awareness Month mostly in terms of things I've bought in honor of it, but rather than be embarrassed about my acquisitiveness, I think it's a really good thing that brands like Vera Bradley and Brighton have been fundraising and getting out information for the past several years and I don't care if good publicity for themselves is their primary goal; the money and attention, at least, focus attention on breast cancer research, not on the cutesiness of memes.

Here are some more photos of the clouded leopards at the National Zoo's conservation facility in Front Royal.

This is one of two cubs born at the facility, part of a breeding program for extremely endangered animals.

The brother and sister currently live in adjacent rooms. They were a bit wary of the crowds at the autumn festival.

Clouded leopards are becoming extinct in the wild, but the males in captivity can be extremely aggressive, which makes breeding them very difficult.

When this clouded leopard decided to visit his outdoor enclosure...

...he decided he wanted to eat the leaves in a nearby tree.

We all got to see how high and accurately he could leap.

But he quickly dropped the leaf, got bored, and went back inside.

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