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The Hole
By Tom Sleigh


Out in the garden, the wind was like a dog
Digging in the snow, digging with its nails
To make a bed to lie down in against the freezing air:

And in my exhaustion, my stupefied numb thought
Dug and dug its way down to where I knew
You were—though how could I believe it?

Once, your irony and honesty refused
To let you say, "Oh yes, my son the genius!"
When I showed you a poem—saying with Groucho deadpan,

As you handed me back the paper, the typed words
Already a little smudged: "Hopkins is a good poet."
And then you recited, "Margaret are you grieving

Over goldengrove unleaving? ... " winking
At the poets not yet born ... poets who would
Come after me, poets who would not believe

There was any such woman as you,
Who would say of them and their poetry,
Shrugging a little, smiling your sly, lopsided grin:

"How old are you, hon? From what I've read,
Your sex life must be very important to you."
Digging in the snow, digging with its nails

Down deep in the snow, the wind kept trying
To hollow a hole deep enough to escape its own bitter
Blowing of snow around the frozen garden.

--------

From Poet's Choice in the April 1 Washington Post Book World. "Certain scenes keep returning in memory to represent something essential in a life, the way bits of a movie trailer represent the movie -- a scrap of dialogue, a facial expression, a landscape. Poetry, by creating such a scene in one life -- something Mother once said, for example -- can crystallize and hold up for inspection forces that govern life in general," writes Robert Pinsky. "The casual, good-humored, even detached language of 'with Groucho deadpan' does not conceal the fact that this little moment leaves not just a wound, but a scar. The specific dialogue between mother and son, the image of the restless wind churning snow with doglike persistence, the phrase quoted from Gerard Manley Hopkins, the unsettled and unsettling mixture of comedy and wound, communication and rage are elements that have all the tremendous, expansive and universal eloquence of the particular."

Home. Exhausted. As always didn't get to everything we wanted to see -- this time it was Cornwall that had to be stricken from the agenda so we could get to everything in Wales -- but had a divine time anyway. Spent an extra half-day near Heathrow because our original flight was cancelled; we had to get up insanely early. They put us up in the lovely Radisson Edwardian and fed us extremely well but I am beyond functional with the lack of sleep and the time change. Watched Miss Potter and most of Blood Diamond on the flight (missed the beginning of the latter), am officially over my dislike of Renee Zellwegger as that's three movies in a row in which I've felt she gave great non-actress-y performances (as opposed to Kidman and Paltrow), thought the acting and cinematography in Blood Diamond were phenomenal but was very glad to be watching on a teeny tiny little screen because the violence was so graphic (small screen didn't stop me from bawling). We were slightly detained because the Department of Agriculture had to question us about the farm on which we stayed and to check our shoes. Have laundries going, am about 1/3 unpacked. Must go collapse before I crash out of my chair...hugs to [livejournal.com profile] perkypaduan for taking care of my cats and I have lots of people to call tomorrow...but not too early!


Here are photos of several things we saw in more detail on earlier trips, like Saint Paul's Cathedral.


The Tower of London (from the city side, as opposed to the Thames side).


Across from the Tower, a piece of the old Roman wall.


Big Ben.


Across from the Houses of Parliament, the statue of Winston Churchill (my high school was named for him).


The Admiralty Arch.


No. 10 Downing Street. The hostages were still being held in Iran the day this photo was taken and there were a lot of security officers around.


Can't keep my eyes open for Boston Legal and still have to watch last week's Young Shatner episode, so will catch up while folding laundry eventually!
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