Tuesday, May 21, 2013


The pictures from today are all about overcast and rain, So here is one from yesterday. I can't really explain why, but this quite pleases me. Maybe it is the red truck cab.

Your poem to tonight was translated from the German. This poet was recommended to me recently. Driving through America is giving me a chance to think about different kinds of American lives. And then there are the lives of wild creatures. Are you watching any peregrine cams, bear den cams, eagle cams, rookery cams? These things are more and more available and give us a chance to think about the lives of other creatures. I often find zoos depressing, but I am glad to have seen the tiger face to face.

To an Okapi in the Munich Zoo

The clank of a steel door, and the ignominious entrance
Of the heraldic beast, trembling, because it's feeding time,
And the keeper wants to knock off, and the beastly onlookers are laughing . . .
These are things not written in any unicorn legend. Okapi---
The word is from jungle languages, now themselves extinct.
Insufficiently tall for the savannah, this patient, rust-colored
Throat merits its pellets of straw, and its locked stall at night.
Because the free range will be strange to him,
As strange as to the bemused visitor
This combination of giraffe and zebra,
Equally remote from the familiar childhood cutout of either.
One more ruminant from the olden days, a sentry
Planted on the astrological roadside, as though to warn
Against the pathos of the exotic throwback.

Durs Grunbein, translated from the German by Michael Hofmann
Ashes for Breakfast, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, NY, Page 177.

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