The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday. Three Movies, Meadowside Animals

The Owl
By Ted Hughes

I saw my world again through your eyes
As I would see it again through your children's eyes.
Through your eyes it was foreign.
Plain hedge hawthorns were peculiar aliens,
A mystery of peculiar lore and doings.
Anything wild, on legs, in your eyes
Emerged at a point of exclamation
As if it had appeared to dinner guests
In the middle of the table. Common mallards
Were artefacts of some unearthliness,
Their wooings were a hypnagogic film
Unreeled by the river. Impossible
To comprehend the comfort of their feet
In the freezing water. You were a camera
Recording reflections you could not fathom.
I made my world perform its utmost for you.
You took it all in with an incredulous joy
Like a mother handed her new baby
By the midwife. Your frenzy made me giddy.
It woke up my dumb, ecstatic boyhood
Of fifteen years before. My masterpiece
Came that black night on the Grantchester road.
I sucked the throaty thin woe of a rabbit
Out of my wetted knuckle, by a copse
Where a tawny owl was enquiring.
Suddenly it swooped up, splaying its pinions
Into my face, taking me for a post.


Tuesday was a movie day, excuse me, a laundry and chores day. First -- and I completely blame my friends on Facebook for this -- was Mamma Mia, in which everyone is still adorable but the singing is still excruciatingly bad. I was trying to decide this time whether the anthemic use of "Dancing Queen" by women my age and older counted as a feminist joy enough to negate the atrocious music while watching the second film, The Runaways, which I was kind of hoping would be an empowering view of the all-female band. Sadly, I can't find any way to read it as such; it's a bunch of very sad, very young girls being mistreated by nearly everyone in their lives, often including each other, and while Kristen Stewart makes a memorable young Joan Jett, she's a mess of sex and drugs and rock & roll; I kept wishing there was more attention paid to the fans the group inspired, the women of rock who came later and didn't have to sell themselves with corsets.

Younger son had tennis, so I took him there and took a walk before dinner. We watched Glee, which I am so not into this season it's not funny -- I don't care whether Finn ends up with Rachel or Quinn or Kurt, I don't care whether Puck has developed a soul or just an erection -- then we put on The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus so we could see it before it disappeared from cable, which I am not sure I liked, exactly, but it's not boring for a moment other than being a bit slow to get into what passes for its plot. I'd love to see what the script looked like before Heath Ledger died and Terry Gilliam had to reshape the whole thing (which works brilliantly -- I mean, it's disjointed having the character's face change, but no more disjointed than most Terry Gilliam films, really). The gimmick for the changes -- that Tony always looks like the fantasy of the woman he's with at the time -- is very clever, and the scene in which Johnny Depp-Tony is talking about all the immortal people like Valentino and Princess Di who won't ever get old or sick or fat choked me up, since it's impossible not to think he's talking about Ledger too.

I had no idea that the film was so dark in its themes -- I thought there would be some light fluffy stuff in the Imaginarium, but even the walking-on-clouds is creepy, and once we find out who Tony really is -- someone who's selling poor kids' organs to rich people -- everything he's ever said or done becomes horrible in retrospect, the "love scene" with Valentina unforgivable (are we supposed to believe that happened or only in her fantasy?) -- and the fact that it's all in that Maxfield Parrish painting gone bad, the enormous Anubis boat that flips upside down as day turns to night and she loses her innocence...well, it's stunningly imaginative. Looked to me like Christopher Nolan might have borrowed some ideas for Inception. And the toy theatre at the end, with the Devil a mere spectator, is a charming conceit too. Here are some photos from Meadowside Nature Center on Sunday, which has small reptiles inside, wild birds at its feeders, and injured raptors in outdoor cages:


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