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Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock
By Wallace Stevens


The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
None are green,
Or purple with green rings,
Or green with yellow rings,
Or yellow with blue rings.
None of them are strange,
With socks of lace
And beaded ceintures.
People are not going
To dream of baboons and periwinkles.
Only, here and there, an old sailor,
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
Catches tigers
In red weather.

--------

From Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in Sunday's Washington Post Book World, on conventionality and exuberance in poetry. Pinsky calls Stevens' first book Harmonium "a collection of lyrics passionately devoted to the imagination...the poems retain their freshness, characteristically exuberant even about the dreariness of conventionality." The above poem "is clear, though a certain kind of classroom experience may interfere with that," he adds, noting that current readers may over-analyze the poem's "celebration of the unexpected and the extraordinary. The imagination of the poet, like the dreams of the drunken sailor, exults in weather that is 'red.'"

We were going to go pick berries after lunch today (morning Trek news: Ron Moore thinks it's funny to announce that he's glad he's now writing for a show where he can torture and rape to his heart's content). But the sky looked suspiciously overcast, and as we were driving it started to pour, even though both Accuweather and Yahoo insisted that there was no rain in the area. Rather than drive to Poolesville only to find out that the tractors to the strawberry fields weren't running due to lightning or mud or something, we went to Great Falls, arriving as the clouds broke conclusively and the sun came out.

Because of the morning storm, Great Falls was not very crowded, and there were lots of animals: deer, turtles, a skink and the most herons I have ever seen in the Potomac River at a time, with 7-8 fishing and circling on the rocks. The water was relatively low, but the canal was high and the Charles F. Mercer packet boat was giving cruises, towed by mules. There were also geese with adolescent goslings, and I got several adorable photos but these photos are from Saturday at the shopping center at Rio -- the first time in two years that there has clearly been interracial dating, which makes me happy though I don't know why (I was brought up on the myth that Canadian geese are monogamous and never stray outside their own group, so it might be a bad environmental sign if our local Canadian geese never migrate to Canada and have babies with the locals). It's just so cute to see another family with a yellow chick, a brown chick and a chick in the middle.


Three of the goslings -- a yellow one that appears to be a domestic goose (snow goose?), a dark one that appears to be a Canadian goose, and the standing one that appears to be a mix.


These two were inseparable and followed each other everywhere.


Here they are with their caretakers and apparent parents. I'm pretty sure one of the adults, which has a brown streak on its belly, is one of the children of the big mixed goose family of two years ago -- anyone know whether that Canadian goose coloring might be recessive?


I don't think I have ever seen a gosling with a black beak and orange feet before.


If there is anything cuter than this, I don't know what!


We stopped at the Bethesda Co-op and World Market, where we got ingredients for Indian butter chicken and Bombay potatoes, which we had for dinner. Watched the talky Tonys -- best supporting actors in musicals whom we won't ever see again give longer speeches than Oscar winners, I swear -- mostly to see the Company revival, Patti LuPone and Grey Gardens. With two Star Trek actors up for Best Actor in a Play (Christopher Plummer and winner Frank Langella), I figured I should pay attention, but mostly I ended up feeling sorry for Michael Sheen, who gave two terrific performances this year in Frost/Nixon and The Queen only to be completely overshadowed by his co-stars. And, not having seen Spring Awakening, I still wish Grey Gardens had won!

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