The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday, 'Secret Garden' & Prairie Dogs

Great Sleeps I Have Known
By Robin Becker

Once in a cradle in Norway folded
like Odin's eight-legged horse Sleipnir
as a ship in full sail transported the dead to Valhalla

Once on a mountain in Taos after making love
in my thirties the decade of turquoise and silver

After your brother walked into the Atlantic
to scatter your mothers ashes his khakis soaked
to the knees his shirtsleeves blowing

At the top of the cottage in a thunderstorm
once or twice each summer covetous of my solitude

Immediately following lunch
against circadian rhythms, once
in a bunk bed in a dormitory in the White Mountains

Once in a hollow tree in Wyoming
A snow squall blew in the guide said tie up your horses

The last night in the Katmandu guest house
where I saw a bird fly from a monk's mouth
a consolidated sleep of East and West

Once on a horsehair mattress two feet thick
I woke up singing
as in the apocryphal story of my birth
at Temple University Hospital

On the mesa with the burrowing owls
on the mesa with the prairie dogs

Willing to be lucky
I ran the perimeter road in my sleep
entrained to the cycles of light and dark
Sometimes my dead sister visited my dreams

Once on the beach in New Jersey
after the turtles deposited their eggs
before my parents grew old, nocturnal


It was very warm and humid for late October on Tuesday so I spent as much of the day outside as possible -- though rain had been forecast, it never fell beyond a drizzle, so by the time I took Adam to tennis in the afternoon, the woods smelled like damp leaves without actually being wet or the ground slippery and it was glorious to be out walking among the falling leaves. There's less red than previous years because of the lack of late summer rainfall but the tulip trees are turning yellow quite late in the season; I like it when the fall color lasts past Halloween!

Otherwise, I did some writing and some editing, and my major chore was folding laundry which ended up being pure delight since I put on Agnieszka Holland's The Secret Garden, having realized that I'd never managed to see it before. What a beautiful movie, both in terms of adapting the story (I haven't read it in probably three decades -- I know some changes were made -- I will confess that I always identified more with Sara Crewe of A Little Princess) and the production values of the film (Fountains Abbey! Maggie Smith!). I need to watch it again with Adam since there are animals in nearly every scene of the second half of the film -- robins, fawns, lambs, goslings, bunnies!

We all watched "The Rocky Horror Glee Show," though I think parts of it were lost on the kids since we've never shown them The Rocky Horror Picture Show, less out of concern that it's not appropriate for high school students than out of fear of being ridiculed as epic failures which often happens when we show the kids things we think are hilarious...Adam didn't even laugh at "I'm Tired" from Blazing Saddles, and Daniel was more interested tonight in Dean of Invention, the new show about Dean Kamen, who started the FIRST Robotics competition. Have some photos of prairie dogs from the Maryland Zoo on Saturday:


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