Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Film

The Eclipse

The modest Irish picture The Eclipse has slipped below almost everyone’s radar; it’s moving quietly across the country in brief art-house engagements. This contemporary ghost story about loneliness and connection is worthy of attention.
Poetry

Somewhere Every Day

    (after William Fullerton, “I cannot tell11 10 11 10 D)

From South and East, from West and North they gather,
on foot, by car, in rickshaw, tram, and bus,
health, in wheelchair, in joy, in sorrow,
relaxed, uptight, disheveled, and fastidious.
They come, O Christ, to you, to taste the body
that once for all was slain, to sing and pray
and take a cup whose balm brings life from dying—
throughout the world and somewhere, somewhere every day.

The words they hear when they have come together
are chanted, lisped, intoned, or simply said
and tell in myriad tongues with every accent
of body broken and of life’s blood shed.
Mere words convey a gift of perfect freedom,
a debt of love that no one can repay,
a yoke of new and welcomed obligation—
throughout the world and somewhere, somewhere every day.

The spaces where they meet are huge, resplendent,
or huts and hovels all but falling down,
on Sundays jammed but often solitary,
both nowhere and on squares of world renown.
Yet all are hewn from just one Rock unbroken
in whose protection no one is betrayed,
which lets itself be smashed to bits for sinners—
throughout the world and somewhere, somewhere every day.

The hands that tender host and cup are youthful,
emaciated, worn, and manicured.
They take so little time, they bring so little,
to do a work by which so much is cured.
These hands that bring the Savior near are icons
of hands once torn in order to display
with lines of blood the names who come receiving—
throughout the world and somewhere, somewhere every day.







Poetry

Sphinx

            I like to compare notes with him,
            to count the shades of blue
            on a kingfisher’s back . . .
                                                —Robert Cording

“Come see this creature before I cut it loose,”
my husband calls to me from the garage, something large
and winged thrashing on a spider’s thread
dangling down from the opened garage door—
no holy ghost but a moth, caught there by a wing
until he lifts the silk rigging down with a broom.
The flailing insect twirls like an acrobat till he lays it,
freed, in the grass. Tired, it doesn’t move. We admire
and leave it, go about the business of our days.
May it recover . . . may it not become prey
for the neighbor’s cat . . . Later,
when I remember to look again, it’s flown.
(Like your souls, I want to take up the old healing grief metaphor,
speaking to my lost father, my mother, my nephew, my grandmother . . .
Flown like your souls, to some heaven we can’t—
or can—imagine, or map . . .)
That night, having lost our chance if not the means
to identify it surely, we puzzle over the moth book, pointing:
this? Or this? Or this?—(some type of sphinx)—joined in spirit
as in body in our human need to capture and release meaning, feel
the touch of beloved skin: and keep safe all the facts and fancies
of our world, with their attendant terrors and grace, the mystery
of the present moment and the escaping future, heart to hand.

Film

The Last Station

The Last Station is a complex but entertaining study of a 48-year marriage and the way subtle and extreme changes that take place in each partner can take a terrifying toll on the relationship.
Poetry

Eye on the sparrow

                                 —for Bruce Richards

Tiny, almost an anti-weight,
if it blew off my palm in the wind I might not even notice.
Dashing against the back porch glass,
the bird fell onto logs I’d stacked there, or rather heaped.
I loaded our wood more neatly out in the shed
but this jumble of lumber reminded me
my life lacked grace.

Wind didn’t kill the bird but misprision.
My oldest daughter had just given birth to twins,
and I was thinking of them of course
when I saw the sparrow. We’re in a hopeful season.
I’d like to imagine new beginnings,
not ponder for instance the self-styled Christian Warriors
I heard about lately, devoted to killing police,

to launching Armageddon.
They claim these are days of Antichrist,
and I could almost agree—for other reasons.
Thou shalt not murder is among the Commandments,
I’d remind the warriors,
all nine of whom live in Michigan,
a place near hell in this near Depression.

Days are bad worldwide,
though in gospel God’s eye takes in the smallest sparrow.
Vile hooligans among us storm
over having a president who’s other than white.
We’re all human, and none of us saved,
and—as the old Greek said—
it might have been best if we’d never been born.

And yet to imagine a world devoid of hope
is too easy and lazy, I decide.
Outside the odors of spring fly in on the wind:
damp mulch, old ice, wet mud and sap.
The sugar-makers hope for a few more gallons,
hope for a few more years, to be with my children.
I open the stove, sweep the bird in.