Sunday, January 27, 2008

Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Wintering by Alicia Ostriker


I had expected more than this.
I had not expected to be
an ordinary woman.
--Lucille Clifton

It snows and stops, now it is January,
The house plants need feeding,
The guests have gone. Today I'm half a boy,
Flat as something innocent, a clean
Plate, just lacking a story.
A woman should be able to say
I've become an Amazon,
Warrior woman minus a breast,
The better to shoot arrow
After fierce arrow,
Or else I am that dancing Shiva
Carved in the living rock at Elephanta,
Androgynous deity, but I don't feel
Holy enough or mythic enough.
Taking courage, I told a man I've resolved
To be as sexy with one breast
As other people are with two
And he looked away.

Spare me your pity,
Your terror, your condolence.
I'm not your wasting heroine,
Your dying swan. Friend, tragedy
Is a sort of surrender.
Tell me again I'm a model
Of toughness. I eat that up.
I grade papers, I listen to wind,
My husband helps me come, it thaws
A week before semester starts.

Now Schubert plays, and the tenor wheels
Through Heine's lieder. A fifteen-year survivor
Phones: You know what? You're the same person
After a mastectomy as before. An idea
That had never occurred to me.
You have a job you like? You have poems to write?
Your marriage is okay? It will stay that way.
The wrinkles are worse. I hate looking in the mirror.
But a missing breast, well, you get used to it.

From _The Crack in Everything_. Alicia Suskin Ostriker. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh Press, 1996.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Politics & Poetry

When Gloria Steinem writes of Senator Clinton in _The New York Times_, January 8, Steinem's prose is rich with anaphora and elements of poetic style.

Click on the above: Politics & poetry