Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Film

Snow Angels

David Gordon Green’s Snow Angels begins with the discordant sounds of a small-town high school band practicing on a football field under gray skies. It ends with the angry cry of a heartbroken grandmother calling to her dog from a back porch.
Poetry

Dispute with Thomas Hardy

                        The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing
                        Alive enough to have the strength to die.
                                                                                —“Neutral Tones”
                                                                                      (Psalm 72))

It won’t last long, this snow that sheathes
                        the dooryard pine in April and lays
its feckless cover on the slope behind.
                        Crocuses, just tall enough,
poke their small blue noses through.
                        It’s clear that they’re alive enough to live.
April’s gale is loud as bombers.
                        What’s left of ice around the pond
in town is rough as predators’ teeth.
                        The fisher fells the luckless squirrel.

There’s much I too may try to cover.
                        For all of that I feel a gladness
in watching this omni-inclusive white
                        blot out the neutral tones that pushed
our brilliant poet to ponder death,
                        and love’s deceit, its cruelty.
We’ve been together, my love and I,
                        near three decades, which have scudded by
like these sideways flakes. My lover-wife.
                        There can come pangs, but the freshets have started

to wander the brush and make their signs:
                        soon we’ll find the trillium,
the painted kind, in that secret place
                        which I discovered springs ago,
and which since then I’ve kept a secret
                        from all but her—from even our children;
and the valley’s white-faced Herefords,
                        while winter endured, dropped new calves,
which now, though mud clots up like blood,
                        shine clean as a man’s most colorful dream.

What is this one’s dream? That life go on
                        as ever. That all our lives go on.
No more than dream, of course. I know,
                        the planet heating up, the cretin
politicians waving swords,
                        as if, by counter-logic, war
might transform earth into something more saintly.
                        So many hard facts conspire against me.
To know that, though, is to make me cling
                        the harder to gifts that appear to be given

without my having to deserve them.
                        Flowers, beasts, the glinting trees.
My disposition, which has moved me here
                        to mute dispute with my great better,
in spite of all my darker doubt.
                        Inkling that something will soon come down
like rain upon the mown grass, as showers
                        that water the earth. Let us praise the Lord,
and every weather. Or the smile on the mouth
                        of my lover, which still can blind like snow.

Or the road agent waving from his bright-red plow
                        as it smooths the mud-clotted back lanes over.











Film

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

Darwinists are communists. And Nazis. They hate our freedom. And—this might be worst of all—they are New Atheists. Or so suggests the film Expelled, Ben Stein’s comedic documentary about scientists who have lost their jobs for questioning the Darwinian consensus. Stein is an actor best known for his role as the hapless teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (“Anyone?
Poetry

Widow's Scarf

My mother’s elegy was long and red.
Off the needles, stitch by stitch, it slipped,
when tears failed her and words knotted in her throat.

It kept her from going crazy,
this long, thin thing
falling off her lap,
curling into itself,
with each row making it through one minute,
her mind occupied in her hands.

How else to spend those first nights
with a husband dead
and never before alone in a house for more than a day?

Over time the scarf lengthened less,
until one afternoon, needles crossed mid-stitch,
its keening accomplished,
it was laid aside.





Poetry

Catch and release

It was once in early May, a raw day,
Bitter, on a western creek, I crouched
Beneath a weeping willow, expecting
Nothing, resting really, the black back
Eddy smooth as glass when suddenly
The rod tip bent with such great force
I almost fell, but didn’t though
I couldn’t move, it was that cramped
Beneath the tree nor could I even raise
My rod. I could only hold my breath,
The reel singing, line spun out,
Pulled by what I couldn’t see, but
How I longed for just a glimpse,
A glimpse would be enough, I thought,
Until a glimmer showed itself, a flash
Of light deep in the dark, and then,
Of course I wanted more, the all of it
To see and hold before releasing,
Letting go. Like life, the way we’re meant
To live, to let each breath be all there is,
But seldom do; it isn’t easy.
Perhaps I prayed, I can’t be sure, but
Inch by inch, the fish drew near, until
The moment, timeless, now, a rainbow
Like a blessing rose, shimmering,
A gift bestowed.