Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Adventures in Translation

From a student paper on Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants":

"The man tells the girl about a drink called Anis del Toro (meaning butt of the bull)."

No wonder I could never stand the taste of anise.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Line(s) of the Week

"Her voice was a force of nature, her conversation a fast-moving rapid full of deadly churning eddies. She was like Hitler without the anti-Semitism, MLK without the compassion or noble cause."

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Holy Order of Fish Handlers

There are those who claim
they can catch the sleek
trout in their bare hands.
My first response to this
was disbelief, but when
I try to imagine it—
I who can barely catch
that lovely and elusive
fish with hook and line
and who have seen them
flash upstream when I
merely scratched an itch—
I imagine something
like a sacred meditation,
a dance of stillness
demanding the non-
attachment of a monk.
To teach oneself to
stand in a cold river
without disrupting it,
to cast no shadow:
is it any different from
learning to levitate, or
mastering that bullfrog-
like chanting that resounds
even underneath the temple?
They talk of calming the fish
by gently stroking
its belly, and I admit,
like a hungry trout
gulled by glint and feather,
I may have been seduced
by a beautiful idea,
but I want to believe
in this, the holy order
of fish handlers, who, to
briefly catch their prey, must
first forget themselves.

—Dallas Crow

"The Holy Order of Fish Handlers" originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2008 (Vol. 103, #3/4) issue of Poet Lore.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Aesthetics of Gravity

Think of the pleasure boys take in falling,
the hours they devote to it: ko'd, shot
in the back, machine-gunned in the
gut; tackled, clotheslined, checked,
body-blocked, tripped; in slow motion
whenever possible; preferably
for an audience of friends or family;
dramatically, comically; into
pillows, hay, leaves, mud, snow—
any pile promising padding or a mess;
water, too: flips, splits, bellyflops,
can openers and cannonballs.

Some may argue that phylogeny
recapitulates ontogeny, that
they are reliving that initial fall
from grace themselves; others may
insist they somehow sense their
own mortality, and are preparing for
their future decline; but I am convinced—
watching my sons catapult and pirouette
through the invisible air, then replay
those all too brief moments of flight
again and again for friends—they are
enchanted by the aesthetics of gravity.

Icarus is their hero, not for his
Pyrrhic success or greedy heedlessness,
but for his most delightful failure.

—Dallas Crow

"The Aesthetics of Gravity" originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2008 (Vol. 103, #3/4) issue of Poet Lore.