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The Pleasures of Merely Circulating
By Wallace Stevens


The garden flew round with the angel,
The angel flew round with the clouds,
And the clouds flew round and the clouds flew round
And the clouds flew round with the clouds.

Is there any secret in skulls,
The cattle skulls in the woods?
Do the drummers in black hoods
Rumble anything out of their drums?

Mrs. Anderson's Swedish baby
Might well have been German or Spanish,
Yet that things go round and again go round
Has rather a classical sound.

--------

From Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. "Poetry is in some ways lordly or aristocratic," writes Robert Pinsky. "The rectangular blocks of print embodying its young, middle-class nephew, the novel, seem too confining for poetry, which prefers speed and glamour. Yet at the same time it feels at home in the street, the kitchen, the playground and the tavern. It likes a good time, and it sometimes mocks or parodies solemnity. These two historic elements of the art persist -- and frequently combine." He cites the above poem by Stevens as an example, adding, "The poem makes both more and less sense than a prose discourse might make on subjects Stevens keeps in the air like a master juggler: the circularity of experience, the absence of transcendent meaning, the arbitrariness of death, the mysterious, primitive power of incantation. But it is the play that makes the poem: not merely the playful joke about Mrs. Anderson's love life in the last stanza, but also the poem's serious play between high and low, sophisticated and naive, reality and talk about reality -- above all, between the cycles of life and our ancient, deep need to make word music about them."

Have had a long, tiring but ultimately satisfying day, mostly taken up with planes and airports. We flew out of BWI, managed to finagle two seats together in row 13 and two seats together in row 24, so our kids were nearly half a plane away from us -- they insisted on sitting together because the Game Boy wireless adapter wouldn't work so many rows apart, and I was thankful for small favors. *g* Then we had a layover for awhile in Chicago, our old stomping ground where our older son was born, and walked around O'Hare for awhile before boarding the next leg of the flight where we were only separated by one row and an aisle. It was a turbulent flight for about half an hour -- not in the emotional sense but in the plane-shaking-all-over sense -- but otherwise also uneventful, as the kids were well-behaved until the absolutely interminable wait to exit the aircraft for reasons that were never explained.

I saw enough of Million Dollar Baby on the plane to be very grateful that 1) I never paid to see it and 2) I was in a situation that made it easy to pull off my headphones and not watch the end -- I knew it would bother me on a whole host of levels but sheesh, I expected an Oscar winner to be a better movie! The dialogue was full of cliches, and the cinematography and lighting were so predictable as to be painful: I said to my husband that we were going to get That Scene in excruciating slow motion, and we did, and that we were going to get That Other Scene in a nearly dark room with one of the characters then walking out into the sunshine, and sure enough...! I never thought I'd see an Oscar winner I'd resent more than Forrest Gump but I was actually in the mood for Forrest Gump after stopping paying attention to MDB.

And I stand by my request for movies where women are heroic and rewarded rather than punished for it. We were talking about what if Ron Howard had directed MDB and Clint Eastwood had directed Cinderella Man (Hilary Swank would have overcome all obstacles and inspired a nation; Russell Crowe would have met a poignant fate that allowed some other guy to come to terms with his life), or better yet what if Ron Howard had directed The Passion of the Christ and Mel Gibson had directed Apollo 13 (Jesus would have survived triumphantly and married a supportive Mary Magdalene; the astronauts would have died tragically for the betterment of their followers)...

The kids fortunately were not interested in MDB and were quite well behaved in the end looking out over Mount Rainier before the endless wait to enter SeaTac. Once we finally had our luggage and our rental car we came to the hotel only to find that my husband's parents had been given the room with two queen beds while we had one and a sleep sofa...fortunately they were amenable to switching! So we took the boys to the pool (which had been the bribe to get them to behave all day) and are about to crash.


Mount Rainier seen from the plane flying into Seattle from the east. We had a gorgeous view of the Space Needle, too, but it was after they asked everyone to turn off electronic devices so I couldn't take a photo.


Oxbow on the Snake River (at least, we are pretty sure it was the Snake River based on the nearby lakes and hills). There were cloud shadows on it the whole time we were over it but this is the most lovely oxbow I have ever seen, easier to see even than The Oxbow in Holyoke, Massachusetts, so I had to try to take a photo.


The brachiosaurus in O'Hare Airport.


What, you didn't believe me? Okay, actually it's a life-size cast to try to attract visitors to the Field Museum but it's still a fun thing!


And probably the most famous image people carry around from O'Hare -- the moving walkway between the United Terminal and the rest of the airport.


Tomorrow I am going to see both [livejournal.com profile] chrismm and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame! And have dinner with a great many in-laws. So I shall probably be delinquent on replying to mail and comments all trip, for which I apologize in advance!

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