Thursday, February 13, 2014

Swan Lake

I picked out this camellia a few years ago, but hadn't been here to see it bloom. It is called Swan Lake and is one of those open fluffy ones, with a golden center. This is the first bloom I have seen, so I am happily excited.

This week's New Yorker came today. I am a big fan of the articles, the short pieces and the cartoons. But usually, the poetry is not that interesting to me. This one is weird enough to be an exception.


Socrates taught Plato and Plato taught Aristotle and Aristotle taught
Alexander the Great, who founded a city that would house the most
voluminous library of the ancient world---until it was burned, until
forgetting came back into vogue. The great minds come down through the
years like monkeys descending from high branches. Always, a leopard is
waiting to greet them---in the tall grass, among the magnetic berries, in the
place they should have checked.

Charles Rafferty, The New Yorker, February 17 & 24, 2014, page 78.

I am issuing herewith a challenge: write a poem in seven long lines that recapitulates ancient history in a fresh,cumulative way. End with an extended full-of-detail nature metaphor that makes the reader feel freshly endangered. Very cool.

Just watching the TV news: big lead item is a Berkeley student who caught the measles (perhaps on a trip abroad) and traveled all over on public transit and walking around the campus spreading germs wherever. This made me giggle, because we had measles all over when I was a kid. I know measles can be bad, but giggle.

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