Hilarious and nostalgic at the same time…a couple of these are mildly NSFW.
In the Attic by Seamus Heaney
Like Jim Hawkins aloft in the crosstrees
Of Hispaniola, nothing underneath him
But still green water and clean bottom sand,
The ship aground, the canted mast far out
Above a seafloor where striped fish pass in shoals—
And when they’ve passed, the face of Israel Hands
That rose in the shrouds before Jim shot him dead
Appears to rise again . . . “But he was dead enough,”
The story says, “being both shot and drowned.”
A birch tree planted twenty years ago
Comes between the Irish Sea and me
At the attic skylight, a man marooned
In his own loft, a boy
Shipshaped in the crow’s nest of a life,
Airbrushed to and fro, wind-drunk, braced
By all that’s thrumming up from keel to masthead,
Rubbing his eyes to believe them and this most
Buoyant, billowy, topgallant birch.
Ghost-footing what was then the terra firma
Of hallway linoleum, Grandfather now appears
Above me just back from the matinée,
His voice awaver like the draft-prone screen
They’d set up in the Club Rooms earlier.
“And Isaac Hands,” he asks, “was Isaac in it?”
His memory of the name awaver, too,
His mistake perpetual, once and for all,
Like the single splash when Israel’s body fell.
As I age and blank on names,
As my uncertainty on stairs
Is more and more the light-headedness
Of a cabin boy’s first time on the rigging,
As the memorable bottoms out
Into the irretrievable,
It’s not that I can’t imagine still
That slight untoward rupture and world-tilt
As a wind freshened and the anchor weighed.
Just dreaming out loud here for a moment. There has been far too much time between visits and get togethers over the past couple of years. Understandable, of course. I am wondering what holiday plans might look like and if we dare dream up a kid-a-palooza event for somewhere down the road. There are too many great kiddos out there now with no real knowledge of the others. Perhaps we could plan something for next summer. i know a place in the mountains that may have enough space and may be cost-effective…just sayin’
She was defiantly independent, unbelievably loyal, tender with our kids, and territorial. She was living proof that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, as she got smarter and smarter the longer she lived, learning to communicate what she wanted more and more efficiently. She hated getting wet. She protected Eliot and Sara from a raging pitbull, and I slept sitting up with her when she couldn’t lie down from the pain of the injuries she had sustained in the fight. When I came home from the vet after learning that she had advanced lymphoma, my family was gone and she licked the tears from my face. The night before last, she couldn’t climb the stairs to go out at night to go to the bathroom, and I carried her up. Later that night, I found she had climbed the stairs to my bedroom to be beside me during a storm. She was a fighter and stubborn, and one of my best friends. Dogs are a marvel. And I miss her very much.
Agnes September 1999 – July 2011
I hope you all have a great one. Sorry you’re not all arriving up here in the cold and snow this evening for a night of Asian food before we have the usual feast on Thanksgiving Day. Tradition looms large in memory.
For an amusing diversion, check out this link, provided I did it correct this time.
Oh the long tradition. Much regret we are not gathering together. Many good wishes and gratitude to all of you on this Thanksgiving. A lot to be thankful for this year. A raised glass to you.
Yes, indeed, we might well have been the luckiest of all our friends this weekend.
We got a first hand Beckett sighting and Clara sighting as well. Bouncing baby Beckett, a bundle of beautiful babbling, was quite the sight. We are grateful to the Shotts-Aspengrens for hosting us and only wish we would have had more time to visit, but alas, we had a wedding to get to. On the way home we got to see Tobandsteph with Clara. Also wonderful, and thanks, to you, too for going out of your way to accomodate our travels and time constraints.
I was reminded of how fortunate we all are this week when I saw a posting on facebook. Apparently, Kori Karstetter (a year or two younger than us, if memory serves correct) was in the midst of her second child birth when they lost their child. To make matters worse, she had a heart attack a short time later and at last check was touch and go. Really brings home how fortunate we all have been.
Thanks so much to you all for sharing your families with us.
Thanks to all of you for the messages of good words and congratulations on the arrival of our new son! He is a dozen days old now, and is doing well, gaining his birth weight back and charming us completely. I look forward to introducing him to the Hollow Men. Beckett was born punctually on his due date, August 1, at 11:32 pm. He weighed 8 pounds 5 ounces and measured 19 and 3/4 inches.
Jen and I are really happy, and Jen is recovering well after what was a long labor. After the weekend at the hospital, we had a great few days here at home with Beckett and my parents, who were a terrific help. Then we went to the Aspengren lake house for five restful days, to recuperate a bit, bid my parents farewell, watch some Olympics, and get some fresh air off the water. We’re now back at home and happy to be here, the three of us.
Just a brief update from Minneapolis: The baby is now over 38 weeks, which means we are at full term, and could really go anytime! It’s exciting, as you can imagine, having the bags packed, the car seat installed, and more or less trying to be at the ready. As some of you know, the baby was in breech position for a while, and Jen and I had to try all kinds of things–tilting Jen on an ironing board, playing music, singing, Chinese medicine, seeing a chiropractor….–to try to coax the baby to go head down. Last Thursday, we went in to the hospital, and our OB and another doctor performed an external cephalic version (ECV) to manually move the baby into the correct head down position. It was really uncomfortable for Jen, but she was hugely courageous and strong through the procedure. Everything went so well, and now the baby is in the right position and remaining there, as far as we can know. It was a stressful week, but really joyous in the outcome, and we’re grateful for all the good vibes and energy we have from our friends, family, and our care providers! So it’s not long now, and we continue to appreciate that support from all of you!
Jen and I had our twelve-week appointment this morning, and everything is looking good and healthy, I’m happy to report. We heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time–a sound I have kept hearing since.We’re very excited, and glad to be beginning the second trimester, and enjoying this time of anticipation and what it means for us.I appreciated talking with each of you earlier this month with the news–your support, your stories. Thank you.
Happy holidays to all! Be safe, merry, and joyous, and accept good intentions for the New Year and for seeing you all in 2008.
Jen and I will be at her parents’ home for a couple of days over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, then will be enjoying some restful days here in Minneapolis. We have a good few inches of snow on the ground, and it’s expected to snow tomorrow an inch or two. So no need for dreaming of a white Christmas in these parts.
OUT STEALING HORSES by Per Petterson is #33 on this week’s New York Times Bestsellers list. Amazing for such an introspective, literary work of translation. Funnily enough the book is just ahead of WAR AND PEACE. So take that, Tolstoy!
Any thoughts on the past year? Predictions for the new one? Anyone care to share some of their favorite books, albums, gallery exhibits, songs, movies, etc. of 2007?
Here’s to what’s ahead…
The holidays are upon us. I hope everyone has a good Thanksgiving next week, wherever you will be. Jen and I will be in the Pacific Northwest from Tuesday through Sunday. So here’s wishing you a good feast to you and yours, from there.
As it happens, I have a fairly grand holiday break set up for myself this year, due to the fact that my class ends the week of December 10, I’m three days a week at Graywolf, and I have saved up vacation days all year, apparently. I will more or less be off of a regular work schedule from December 13 to January 7.
I’m hoping that might mean I can come to Kansas for a few days somewhere in there–either before Christmas or sometime after. I will certainly be in Minnesota roughly December 23-26 for family gatherings here. I thought I would see when others of you might be around the McPherson area during the holidays, to see if I can match my schedule to yours, as it would be great to see you all, in addition to my parents, grandparents, and extended family.
I need to get my air fare set as soon as possible, so let me know what your plans may be. And of course, it’s always interesting to know what all of you are doing for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s…
I am an uncle again! I really like the name Mitch and Meg chose for their daughter. They’re going to call her Addie for short. It’s been deader than a tumbleweed in outer space on this blog lately. Let’s get some news up.