Friday, September 19, 2008

Prolonged Whining

So it's been an entire week without power. I've made my first impression on my students after dressing and brushing my hair in the dark. We've been to all the local restaurants (it's a pretty small town). Rather than becoming closer as a family, like all the local newspaper columnists gush, we've attempted to make it to our usual after school and evening events, and then we've come home and showered in the dark, while Ron has spent most of his evenings at work. We've discovered that we can make hot water on the side burner of our propane grill, and that has made the black and chilly mornings more bearable. Our local Wal-Mart got a delivery of D batteries and ice, so we can keep the carrots and lettuce that we feed to the guinea pig and the rabbit from rotting and can continue to light our way from room to gloomy room.

The bright spot in my week has been this award from Harriet:
arte y pico

She says she likes reading the poems I often post, so in her honor, there's a new one for today. One of my most outdated skills is that I can touch-type about 100 words per minute, so most of the time when I quote or reprint something in its entirety, I'm typing it in. I think this makes me stand out in the world of book blogs... maybe my ability to provide poems from obscure sources makes up for some of my technical incompetence. I can hope!

Since I'm in a whiny mood and the headlines have been so bleak, between the local storm damage, the Texas storm damage and gas prices, and the financial markets, it's kind of a pessimistic poem. But since it's by W.H. Auden, it's not without an ironic edge.

The Fall of Rome

The piers are pummelled by the waves;
In a lonely field the rain
Lashes an abandoned train;
Outlaws fill the mountain caves.

Fantastic grow the evening gowns;
Agents of the Fisc pursue
Absconding tax-defaulters through
The sewers of provincial towns.

Private rites of magic send
The temple prostitutes to sleep;
All the literati keep
An imaginary friend.

Cerebrotonic Cato may
Extoll the Ancient Disciplines,
But the muscle-bound Marines
Mutiny for food and pay.

Caesar's double-bed is warm
As an unimportant clerk
Writes I DO NOT LIKE MY WORK
On a pink official form.

Unendowed with wealth or pity,
Little birds with scarlet legs,
Sitting on their speckled eggs,
Eye each flu-infected city.

Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of reindeer move across
Miles and miles of golden moss,
Silently and very fast.

Don't you just love the idea that the literati have imaginary friends? I wish David Foster Wallace had been a bit closer to his. I also love the image of the evening gowns growing more fantastic. If the public utility structure continues its decline, perhaps the gowns will feature little battery-operated Christmas lights up and down the skirts.

1 comment:

J. Kaye Oldner said...

Complain away! You deserve it. The first couple of days weren't as bad, because we had hope. After the third, total depression set in. By the fifth, I was ready to kidnap the workers from the power company...only I didn't have a gun. If I did, I might have. I seriously thought about clubbing one over the head and having Steve steal the truck.

What you are going through is horrible...I am sure this doesn't make you feel any better, but it's happened to us. And the only silver lining has to do with getting the lights back on.