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Rosa Parks Dreams
By E. Ethelbert Miller


Rosa Parks dreams about
a bus in Jerusalem. A headless
woman sits in her seat. There is no
driver today. The top of the bus
is missing. On the road a line
of bodies segregated from the living.
They sleep against a twisted metal
frame. Wild flowers stare from
a field.

--------

Another from Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in Sunday's The Washington Post Book World. "In much that I read, what I don't understand is merely lost or confusing. In this poem, the limits of understanding become part of the point. The image becomes part of my craving to understand, part of a shadowy contest between fear and hope: fear of the violent forces in any conflict, and hope for victory by heroes like Parks," writes Pinsky of this poem by E. Ethelbert Miller on violence against civilians in Jerusalem, "trying to examine that violence in relation to the courageous, embattled hero of nonviolent disobedience Rosa Parks. The word and image "bus" -- the "omnibus" or "for everyone," a public good -- provides the connection...an editorial about violence and nonviolence, or freedom and oppression, using these two images, might get into a snarl of difference and similarity....embracing the irrational along with the rational, poetry can bring the sealed-off clarity of dreams into our world of actual speech."

Sunday morning we got up at different times and went to do different things: my father to play tennis with a friend who is also staying in the complex, my mother and one child to get a newspaper, my husband to jog, me and one of my sons to look for frogs in a nearby swampy area. Then we all went to the beach, which was so crowded with umbrellas that we had to walk down quite a way just to find a non-packed spot; this is the busiest weekend of tourist season on this peninsula and it was very obvious. In spite of all that the beach was lovely: we did not build sand castles or dig fr mole crabs because we were all swimming, but the water was gorgeous and we saw dolphins not far offshore jumping in the surf.

Our afternoon at the beach was interrupted by a thunderstorm, which caused the lifeguards to clear the water and when we took the shuttle to Sea Colony's indoor pool we learned that Delaware has a law that even indoor pools must be closed for electrical storms -- can anyone explain this to me? So we went back, dried off and went out for a very late lunch at Armand's Pizza, then drove to Fenwick Island to Sea Shell City and the Discovery Shipwreck Museum, an enormous complex which includes serious artifacts and scientific exhibits a floor above painted hermit crabs and every form of tacky shell souvenir imaginable (I resisted buying the tall ship made from scallop shells though I did get a pirate ship carved on a cowrie). We visited a couple of other shops -- have to have rock candy and salt water taffy at the beach -- and got some fresh fruit from a local stand, then came back for dinner. While it was still drizzling we talked about renting a movie and discovered that Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was on Disney with the deleted scenes restored, so (all six of us being geeks) we watched it. *g*


Just past the dunes (which are illegal to walk on due to serious erosion problems), a line of beach umbrellas between us and the water.


Our first mole crab of the season! They race backward to the water and burrow in backward, hence the name.


Can you spot the dolphins in the Atlantic? No, because I couldn't get a picture of them jumping, but they were there, just out past the swell.


The dunes are always traversed by wooden staircases and boardwalks from the streets and resorts to the shore. They are a fine place to play "spot the fiddler crab" though in daytime hours one mostly sees legs barely visible in the holes.


You didn't think I was exaggerating about the wall to wall umbrellas, did you?


As for the guest stars in these photos, the most common seagull here is the laughing gull (guess what its cry sounds like) as opposed to the more commonly seen herring gull or ring-billed gull. Because these black-headed birds are most common in proximity to the Chesapeake Bay, in my family we call them bay gulls, pronounced bagels. *g*


We did not see any living horseshoe crabs, though in my childhood it was not an uncommon occurence to step on one in the water. Now they are becoming endangered, so I don't know whether this shell is a good sign or a bad one.

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