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Nocturne
By Ellen Bryant Voigt


Through the clotted street and down
the alley to the station, the halting
rhythm of the bus disrupts her dream
and makes the broad blond fields of grain
yield to an agitated harbor,
whales nuzzling flank to flank.
Now the bus settles in its gate.
She wakes, smoothes her stockings, gathers
her packages, the stunned shrub of her brain
lapsing into purpose. A nervous woman,
she passes the subway's deep stairs
and aims for the Public Garden: a few ducks
in the shallow murk of the pond, a few bikes,
the labelled trees, the low voltage of the pigeons' moan,
the last light doled out to penthouses on the roofline
where someone shifts an ottoman with his slipper.
This is not the red heart of the city
but its veined, unblinking eye,
her image fixed within the green iris.
Across the avenue, up the blank sidestreet,
the door is locked, those locks her talismen.
She stalls a moment, as a cautious animal pauses
before it is absorbed by foliage — she is alone at dusk
in the emptying corridors of the park. Nearby
a man flattens the clipped grass.
He knows each coin, the currency of faces.
Trailing her from the bus, deft as a cab
in the dense streets, as a dog on the broad common,
he's neither hungry nor afraid, a man with a knife
evolving cooly from the traffic of strangers.
Whereas the violence in nature is just,
beasts taking their necessary flesh,
the city is capricious, releasing brute
want from the body's need where it was housed.

--------

I don't have a heck of a lot to report. Father took kids to the pool. Wrote up an entertaining interview with Nana Visitor and a boring article on the latest on fan films (curious: does anyone besides fan filmmaking fanboys actually watch those things?) Was listening to Kate Rusby and realized that her song "Exile" is also Lisa Moscatiello's song "Exile" and I love both versions of it. Oh, and we watched the wonderful Paul Simon tribute on PBS from the The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, with Simon and lots of his cohorts over the years, including not only the obvious (Garfunkel, Ladysmith Black Mambazo) but old footage with George Harrison and on Saturday Night Live and new performances by Alison Krauss, Marc Anthony and lots of others. If this is on in your area I highly recommend it.


This was formerly the lens of the light aboard the Lightship Portsmouth, built in 1915.


The ship is now in permanent drydock near the Portsmouth Naval Museum.


This is the kitchen...


...captain's quarters...


...and crew quarters.


And here is a view from the street side, with a riverboat ferry passing behind the ship in the Elizabeth River.

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June 2017

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