Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Film

A guy, a girl, a guitar

Glen Hansard, lead singer for the Irish band The Frames, has a long, woebegone face pebbled with a rust-colored beard; his eyes are immense, with the peeled look of billiard balls. He suggests a gangly Gaelic version of the young John Lithgow.
Poetry

"Earth,"

I heard the Irishman on the radio say,
only it didn’t sound the way we’d say it:
commonplace, like dirt under the nails.
He held it on his tongue, “Air-th,”
as if it were the best place, like heaven:
spacious, intricate, infinitely rich,
with swells of color and cloud,
forest stipple and patches of swale,
the “r” rolling along like the hills.
As if it were the best word
in the language, better even than love.
Film

Fishing for answers

Alfred Hitchcock said that the literary form that most resembles a movie is not the novel but the short story, since it is designed to be digested in one sitting. But the dilemma for moviemakers who adapt short stories is that they almost always need to beef up or expand the story so it can fill 90 minutes or more.
Poetry

Poinsettia

The scarlet petals were floppy as old hats
by March, and falling into piles on the rug,
so I cut its plastic pot to free its roots
and laid it by the compost in the mud.
Busy that spring, I never noticed how
it waited out the months, night after night
in wind, in grueling rain and a late snow,
inclining from the compost into light,
its new leaves firming, shining, thick,
like a novitiate of a strange order,
as days warm, growing fierce and quick,
blessing the lost plants I’ve lodged there.
It rang like church bells, red, on the hour.
Now let me learn to love what cannot flower.
Poetry

The work of wood

The shavings curled from my plane the afternoon
she stood a shadow in the door and spoke
the single syllable. I thought, So soon,
but deep in me a harmony awoke,
a rhythm lost in the hammer song I made
furnishing the world chair by chair, bed by bed.
Her single word was Go. My debt was paid.
Joseph’s memory would be satisfied:
My craft would find its end in speech—the Word
voiced as once when spoken it divided light
from dark and all Creation bloomed. I heard
my father in her voice. Both sadness and delight
indwelt the shop, as if the two were one
as they may be when the work of wood is done.