Out of Africa

They just don’t make movies like this anymore. The cinematography, Meryl, and the music, the music! Sweeps you away.

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The Whitsun Weddings

Perfect season for this poem, I think. One of my all-time favorites. It’s a long one, but entirely worth it.

That Whitsun, I was late getting away:
Not till about
One-twenty on the sunlit Saturday
Did my three-quarters-empty train pull out,
All windows down, all cushions hot, all sense
Of being in a hurry gone. We ran
Behind the backs of houses, crossed a street
Of blinding windscreens, smelt the fish-dock; thence
The river’s level drifting breadth began,
Where sky and Lincolnshire and water meet.

All afternoon, through the tall heat that slept
For miles island,
A slow and stopping curve southwards we kept.
Wide farms went by, short-shadowed cattle, and
Canals with floatings of industrial froth;
A hothouse flashed uniquely: hedges dipped
And rose: and now and then a smell of grass
Displace the reek of buttoned carriage-cloth
Until the next town, new and nondescript,
Approached with acres of dismantled cars.

At first, I didn’t notice what a noise
The weddings made
Each station that we stopped at: sun destroys
The interest of what’s happening in the shade,
And down the long cool platforms whoops and skirls
I took for porters larking with the mails,
And went on reading. Once we started, though,
We passed them, grinning and pomaded, girls
In parodies of fashion, heels and veils,
All posed irresolutely, watching us go,

As if out on the end of an event
Waving goodbye
To something that survived it. Struck, I leant
More promptly out next time, more curiously,
And saw it all again in different terms:
The fathers with broad belts under their suits
And seamy foreheads; mothers loud and fat;
An uncle shouting smut; and then the perms,
The nylon gloves and jewelry-substitutes,
The lemons, mauves, and olive-ochers that

Marked off the girls unreally from the rest.
Yes, from cafes
And banquet-halls up yards, and bunting-dressed
Coach-party annexes, the wedding-days
Were coming to an end. All down the line
Fresh couples climbed abroad: the rest stood round;
The last confetti and advice were thrown,
And, as we moved, each face seemed to define
Just what it saw departing: children frowned
At something dull; fathers had never known

Success so huge and wholly farcical;
The women shared
The secret like a happy funeral;
While girls, gripping their handbags tighter, stared
At a religious wounding. Free at last,
And loaded with the sum of all they saw,
We hurried towards London, shuffling gouts of steam.
Now fields were building-plots. and poplars cast
Long shadows over major roads, and for
Some fifty minutes, that in time would seem

Just long enough to settle hats and say
I nearly died,
A dozen marriages got under way.
They watched the landscape, sitting side by side
-An Odeon went past, a cooling tower,
And someone running up to bowl -and none
Thought of the others they would never meet
Or how their lives would all contain this hour.
I thought of London spread out in the sun,
Its postal districts packed like squares of wheat:

There we were aimed. And as we raced across
Bright knots of rail
Past standing Pullmans, walls of blackened moss
Came close, and it was nearly done, this frail
Traveling coincidence; and what it held
Stood ready to be loosed with all the power
That being changed can give. We slowed again,
And as the tightened brakes took hold, there swelled
A sense of falling, like an arrow-shower
Sent out of sight, somewhere becoming rain.

Tuesday Miscellany

Lately…
+ Homemade basil pesto.  Must try this method next time.
+ Some light gardening. Waiting is the hard part.
+ Cookbook indulgence. Bought this and this.
+ Finally watched Django Unchained. Liked this dissection of one of the scenes.
+ One can dream, right? Loved reading about this 51-Day Grand Tour of Asia.
+ Reading Recos from Hemingway.
Happy Tuesday.

Le Premiere Bonheur du Jour

 
Le Premiere Bonheur du Jour
(The First Joy of the Day)

The first joy of the day
Is a ribbon of sunshine
Unwinding in your hands
Caressing my shoulder

It’s the ocean sighing
And the beach that stretches before me
It’s the bird that sings
From a frozen tree

The first sorrow of the day
Is the front door closing
The car driving away
The silence that visits me

But soon you come home
And life comes back to me
The last joy of the day
Is the lamp lighting your way

Lately

I love tulip season. I love how they lean, don’t you?

+ Novelists talking about other art forms.  I loved hearing about Colm Tolbin’s love for opera, in particular.  I agree with this bit – when he writes:
“It is easy to feel that life itself, during a soaring aria or a moment when a melody lifts, is at its most perfect and pure. Or just that the music is perfect and pure. To hell with life!”
+ Miniature Art.

+ Hurricane on Saturn.
+ Motherhood…in Charts.
+ Ramp season.
+ This conversation.
+ This broccoli slaw recipe.

Have a great weekend.