The exemplary sentence

Sentence Diagram

I’ve been reading George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda, or rather skimming much of it. It’s long and rather overwritten, though Eliot can write!

It seems to me a book that would make a wonderful period movie. The plot involves many twists, including a lenghty and interesting perspective on how Jews were seen in 1800s. One focal point of the novel is the evolution of  a heedless, impoverished, but well-intentioned beauty who marries a cold, mean-spirited man named Grandcourt for his money and position.

This little sentence captures Grandcourt’s character perfectly:

It is true that Grandcourt went about with the sense that he did not care a languid curse for any one’s admiration, but this state of not-caring, just as much as desire, required its related object—namely, a world of admiring or envying spectators: for if you are fond of looking stonily at smiling persons, the persons must be there and they must smile…

Lobster on Monday

nemerovHoward Nemerov seems almost forgotten as a poet–he died almost 25 years ago. He was not only US Poet Laureate twice, but was also the brother of Diane Arbus. This poem is fairly representative of his style.

The Lobster

Here at the Super Duper, in a glass tank
Supplied by a rill of cold fresh water
Running down a glass washboard at one end
And siphoned off at the other, and so
Perpetually renewed, a herd of lobster
Is made available to the customer
Who may choose whichever one he wants
To carry home and drop into boiling water
And serve with a sauce of melted butter. Continue reading “Lobster on Monday”

Drought Poem

This is one of the poems I’ll be reading this Saturday for the event at the North Berkeley Library, Poems of Berkeley.  Details here.

oldsGabriel and the Water Shortage

When the water shortage comes along
he’s been waiting all his life for it,
all nine years for something to need him as
the water needs him now. He becomes
its protector–he stops washing, till dirt
shines on the bones behind his ears
over his brain, and his hands blaze like
dark blades of love. He will not
flush the toilet, putting the life of the
water first, until the bowl
crusts with gold like the heart’s riches and his
room stinks, and when I sneak in and
flush he almost weeps, holds his
hands a foot apart in the air and
says do I know there is only about
this much water left! He befriends it, he Continue reading “Drought Poem”

New kids on the block

eggsOnce you have chickens (or at least once I do), it becomes tempting to want more exotic varieties. Four years ago I started out with six Ameraucanas, the friendly, puffy cheeked hens that lay pale green or olive eggs.

Now I have a wide variety, and often know which hen laid which egg by its size and color. Still, I wanted a couple of Cukoo Marans (rich, dark brown eggs) and Cream Legbars (turquioise eggs). When my Silkie (a small white puffball with feathered feet) got broody (sitting on eggs to hatch them), I arranged with a small breeder in Redding to ship a few baby chicks.   Continue reading “New kids on the block”

Poems of Berkeley

duncanAs part of poetry month, Susan Cohen (a fellow poet) and I are orchestrating a reading of poems about Berkeley at the North Branch of the Berkeley Public Library on the afternoon of Saturday, April 25. Gathering poems for the event, I wanted to include something by Robert Duncan, who was a romantic and powerful figure in the poetry scene in the Bay Area in the sixties.  Here he is with Denise Levertov, another poet we’re including., along with Ginsberg, Spicer, Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Chana Bloch, and others–hard to narrow it down to 20 poems.

Duncan held dawn readings on Mt. Tamalpias and was part of the legendary Six Gallery reading in San Francisco. Larry has a large broadside of his most famous poem, My Mother Would be a Faconress. But this quieter, mysterious poem of his is one of my favorites.

Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow

as if it were a scene made-up by the mind,
that is not mine, but is a made place, Continue reading “Poems of Berkeley”

Theft and recovery

Larry battingOn Tuesday, Larry went to his softball game where his team discovered that someone had used a bolt cutter to break open the equipment shed and stolen the defibrillator and first aid kit. An odd theft.

The Creaker League has a defibrillator at each field, and will now have to store them in one spot, and gather them before each game. Continue reading “Theft and recovery”