Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Poetry

Strewn

It’d been a long winter, rags of snow hanging on; then, at the end
of April, an icy nor’easter, powerful as a hurricane. But now I’ve landed
on the coast of Maine, visiting a friend who lives two blocks from the
      ocean,
and I can’t believe my luck, out this mild morning, race-walking along the
      strand.
Every dog within fifty miles is off-leash, running for the sheer dopey joy
      of it.
No one’s in the water, but walkers and shellers leave their tracks on the
      hardpack.
The flat sand shines as if varnished in a painting. Underfoot, strewn, are
      broken
bits and pieces, deep indigo mussels, whorls of whelk, chips of purple
and white wampum, hinges of quahog, fragments of flat gray sand
      dollars.
Nothing whole, everything broken, washed up here, stranded.
Light pours down, a rinse of lemon on a cold plate
of oysters. All of us, broken, some way or other. All of us
dazzling in the brilliant slanting light.
Poetry

Lament

In the sixth week in the beautiful city it all threatened
to go awry, too many days of cloud and drizzle, too much time

to sit idly with neither reliably bad American cable
nor the usual cohort of neighbors and associates,

overfamiliar or not. How many times could we study
the cloud-shrouded mountains, the muddy stretch waiting

to dry and go under the asphalt? How many churches
could we wander into, ponder briefly for their artwork

and architectural features (Roman, baroque, gothic,
even all three in one multilayered building,

assembled over a whole millennium), the silent arches,
the bare bulbs dangling from 40-foot cords, the iron gates

and wistful announcements of occasional services?
How many evenings, even, the skies suddenly clear

and the Untersberg bare and muted in the southeast,
the western slopes open and shadowed at the same time,

the sun descending unstoppably to the courts of some lost empire?















Film

Star Trek

A riveting sci-fi adventure, Star Trek is the first of the summer blockbusters that audiences can truly care about. Its action is rooted in feeling rather than gimmickry.
Poetry

The privilege of water is . . .

That here in the deepest water,
beyond even rags of light,
nearly transparent creatures glitter and flash
like neon signs floating
down the Las Vegas strip;

That as recently as seven years ago
liquid water flowed down
an arroyo on Mars,
shifting sands and turning small rocks, a pattern
like a palm print on a rusting door;

That on a cold night
water vapor makes visible the breath
of small children, who laugh
to see themselves breathe,

and makes visible the broken breath
of old men forgetting their children in refugee camps,
and the drying breath of prisoners in stone cells,
whose mothers and sisters believe they’re long dead;

That in the beginning the Spirit
moved over the waters like a mighty wind;
that the spirit moves through water even now, even now
through the straw held to a sick man’s lips,
blessed from basin to scallop shell
to the forehead of a crying child;
That we are from conception
almost entirely water.











Film

Is Anybody There?

The low-budget English production Is Anybody There? is now reaching screens in the United States, thanks to the presence of Michael Caine in the lead role. The action takes place at Lark Hall, a family-run nursing facility. As one aging resident dies, another arrives to take over the bed—a cycle of life and death accepted mostly with a nod and a shrug.