Sunday, January 20, 2013

Gathering in the stream......."And the drifting clouds , , ,"

Another from the day of the unusual frost. This is where the ducks hang out. I have noticed them landing in the snow the same way they land in the water, breast first and slide. I suppose it saves wear and tear on your foot structures. The ugly pipe across the channel looks sort of like a bridge in a garden. I like to imagine it as sort of a frame for the action.
Many things look different in different lights and at different times. On the Thornton Wilder front, World War II has just begun and he is worried about Gertrude and Alice in France. He has given up on the his Alcestiad, Icelandic Sagas or not. He will assign his royalties in foreign countries for the relief of people who were stuck in Europe.
And, here is the last of the Louis Simpson poems, for now,
which harks clear back to the Civil War, and the Battle of the Wilderness.

The Union Barge on Staten Island

The crazy pier, a roof of splinters
Stretched over the sea,
was a cattle barge. It sailed in the Civil War,
In the time of the Wilderness battles.
The beams are charred, the deck worn soft between the knotholes.

When the barge sank offshore
They drove the cattle on land and slaughtered them here.
What tasty titbits that day
For the great squawking seagulls and pipers!
A hooded shuffling over the dark sand . . .

Under your feet the wood seems deeply alive.
It's the running sea you feel.
Those animals felt the same currents,
And the drifting clouds
Are drifting over the Wilderness, over the still farms.

From Selected Poems, Louis Simpson, page 127.

Tonight Outdoor Idaho on Idaho Public TV had a segment about a very
old Bristlecone pine a long trek up a mountain. After we watched them
huffing and puffing over the scree, they finally got to the tree,
a tripartite affair, with only one of the parts
still living. It was bearing a few cones.
It was so rotten within that they couldn't get an accurate ring sample,
but it is very, very old.A huge and gnarly weatherbeaten stump
and not terribly impressive, the way a Giant Sequoia can be,
nevertheless, I was very glad to make its TV acquaintance.
Sleep well.

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