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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Rambling around

I'm in San Francisco. Spent the morning wandering in Golden Gate Park. I happened upon a place called the Conservatory of Flowers, which was filled with so much gorgeousness which I would show you pictures of if my cranky iPhone would let me email myself photos, or download them onto my laptop, or ANYTHING. Oh well. For now just trust me. If you are in SF, you should make a stop there.

One of the highlights of my visit: while there I overheard a couple maybe in their eighties talking.
Man: Honey, is this a colitis?
Woman: That's a coleus, dear. Colitis is, remember?
Man: Oh. Right.

Then I wandered a lot more and made my way back to the hotel to see Germany demolish Brazil in the World Cup. I only watched the first 25 minutes, but Germany had scored 5 goals already. When I was on a soccer team in high school, we played a game like that once where my team was the Brazil of this example and it was HORRIBLE. And we didn't even care about soccer, which I am going to bet a majority of the guys out there today actually do. Most of them, probably. So it's probably way worse for them than it even was for the ragtag bunch of us who just wanted to get a high school letter and hang with our friends after school and it was the first year of girls' soccer so there were no cuts. Most of our games were, in fact, perhaps not surprisingly, a lot like that game today (not in level of play but in lopsidedness) but only one was called on the mercy rule. Turns out there's a mercy rule. If one team scores like 100 goals and the other team hasn't touched the ball yet, they just end the game. Maybe the ref just made that up right then and there. (I didn't think of that possiblity until JUST NOW.) We didn't object. We were ready to go home anyway. It was exhausting, watching all those girls on the other team run around kicking the ball to each other so much. People weren't crying at our thing, though. Brazilians had looked so happy just half an hour before I had to turn off the TV.

After that I had lunch with an old friend who is one of those people you can pick up with after years, and within minutes be telling each other stories and laughing like you'd stayed up way too late with her as usual last weekend. What a great bit of life, friends like that are.

Now I'm back in my hotel room, looking at poems to help my younger son put together a poetry piece for speech team. This probably won't work for him but it sure hit me square in the nose -- hope you'll like it too.

The Writer

by Richard Wilbur

In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story.
I pause in the stairwell, hearing
From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys
Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.
Young as she is, the stuff
Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy:
I wish her a lucky passage.
But now it is she who pauses,
As if to reject my thought and its easy figure.
A stillness greatens, in which
The whole house seems to be thinking,
And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor
Of strokes, and again is silent.
I remember the dazed starling
Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago;
How we stole in, lifted a sash
And retreated, not to affright it;
And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door,
We watched the sleek, wild, dark
And iridescent creature
Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove
To the hard floor, or the desk-top,
And wait then, humped and bloody,
For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits
Rose when, suddenly sure,
It lifted off from a chair-back,
Beating a smooth course for the right window
And clearing the sill of the world.
It is always a matter, my darling,
Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish
What I wished you before, but harder.