Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Poetry

Triptych for Taran's broken heart

            Plow

At the first cut the earth does not thank the blade.
Is it rape then?—the bite of steel, its point
incalculably harder than dirt, its mark
the hiss of death, the metallic taste of sorrow.
And what does the earth cry, its tangle of root
a living shroud rent by force? Memory
longs to preserve what has already grown.
The furrow is wet with tears, brown heart exposed,
underworld of worms and slugs prey to birds,
dreamless of deep new roots, of shade:
the palm tree of Deborah, towering crown of green.

            Harrow

The ravaging is not yet complete.
Jeremiah’s voice rages against Yahweh’s
violation, at first petulant and then violent
in return. It has always been so.
Sixty discs slice the remaining sod,
merciless, efficient: vestiges of cover
criss-crossed into oblivion. Blind stalks
mourn the loss of the sun, overturned
into darkness, food for the coming reign.
There is a quiet loss, the peace of death—
stillness in the wake of wrath.

            Seed

The thunder god is always the god
of heaven and of death. Rain and death
both bring life, black earth signifying
a bed, a womb for golden seeds dropped
from the mouth of the god, for a cause
not one’s own. Is there a more tender bliss
than the sweet swelling, the burst seed?
Tendril roots uncoil, the seedling unfurls—
moon-pale shoots beneath green and gold.
The seed takes possession, the violated
earth sings, the rich strains reach heaven.













Film

Racial divide

Classic romantic comedies follow this scenario: the hero and heroine begin as adversaries but are irresistibly drawn to each other; they overcome a series of obstacles and recognize that they belong together; their willingness to change—to discard the prejudices that kept them apart—denotes their growth as human beings and shows that they deserve each other.
Poetry

Heart

Now there is only the heart—
oiled and rosy
as a hoof—and within its wooded walls
lives an evergreen:
on each bough, the jeweled gestures
of birds in winter.

There is the pain of isolation,
thus any snowfall becomes solace
layering each needle, each
feather so slowly
that both are gradually disfigured, made
similar, then hidden entirely.





Film

Flashbacks

The French film Caché (“Hidden”) is a stylish thriller tiptoeing around a psychological drama that lurks inside a political allegory. This is typical of the work of Austrian writer-director Michael Haneke (Code Unknown), who enjoys presenting confrontational films in which seemingly normal folks leading normal lives turn out to be not very normal at all.
Caché, which won the Best Director Award at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, stars the enigmatic Daniel Auteuil and the luminescent Juliette Binoche as Georges and Anne Laurent. He hosts a television talk show about books; she is a writer who works in publishing—until an anonymous two-hour videotape interrupts their lives.
Poetry

Miriam

    Her house was a three year old’s drawing
of a house—two windows on the second floor
with two below to flank the door.
On the porch a pair of supermarket tube
and webbing chairs in case a guest or two
dropped by plus one where she could lean way back,
a coverlet across her knees when fall
was in the air or she felt ill.

    The shades she always kept exactly so,
the ones above just low
enough to hide her on her way to bed,
the ones below up high to let
some daylight in. Now that the house is empty
as a drum, they’re every whichway
like an old drunk’s stare,
and somebody’s pinched the supermarket chairs.

    Sweet Jesus, forgive me all the days I spotted
her in one of them and slunk behind the trees
across the street. A caller on her porch
for all to see she would have rated
with her trip to England on a plane,
or winning first prize for her grapenut pie,
or the day that she retired from the Inn
and they gave her a purple orchid on a pin.

    Or having some boy ask her to dance,
or being voted president of her class,
or some spring morning with her room all warm
and sunlit waking up in Spencer Tracy’s arms.