Confusing, how the landscape stumbles— there is sky beyond this sky, a backyard of chickens, a broken dog. Ambition, like green fields, slows upon autumns and the few ancient trucks. Work earth, plow and hoe, bent over the soil again. Years of this sameness. Years of the white sun.
To marry a girl was the one thing. The other, talk—long into nights out past the river. Sometimes three of us found ourselves there. We shared what we had, even failures we’d carried in our coats. In that certain dark, nothing but compassionate days, when our tilling turned the ground to wider orbits, to order.
A village closes upon itself. The road’s rise toward Copsa Mare is the firm hand urging. Doorways are boundaries children learn to respect. Someone, born to it, swells within his father’s isolation, painting his barn a fierce yellow. Hay in the lofts. I know how surely we fall to ourselves in this world.
Intelligently detailed, impressively mounted, absorbingly told and undeniably gripping, Sydney Pollack’s The Interpreter is a very satisfying movie—unless you’re seeking something more than a thriller that only superficially engages its political subject.
There are tracings in the snow-filled field, Tracks I see but cannot read; except the deer’s Small heart-shaped prints, the rest remains A mystery. And so, I think of Hebrew script, The jagged flame that writes of God, but Is not God, the scholars say. God dwells in White fire, not in black. In sky glimpsed Through dark winter trees, in breath-filled Silence when we pray.
Day of ColoursReal World Records, World music/QawwaliRizwan-Muazzam Qawwali The brothers Rizwan and Muazzam, nephews of the late Sufi singing great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, deliver a majestic album. Imagine the droning power of Gregorian chant melded with the expressiveness of blues shouters. With the simple instrumentation of harmonium and tablas, Colours addresses spiritual themes central to the Qawwali tradition. “Light of My Life,” a Persian song in praise of Allah, is particularly arresting.
They warned us, like innocents, not to name our goat, to exercise good sense, refuse to see him as a pet or even, oops, as him. Just do whatever all it takes to tame the thing toward that appointed time when goat and fate should meet, when the dull drawn blade would withdraw blood from funny, fuzzy throat.
For days or weeks, we avoided eyes, made it a point to see the animal as meat. Through open window, so relieved, I heard you say to our neighbor, “No, you do it.”
And kindly, our neighbor did—spared you, and me too. But I will never forgive myself the rare deliciousness of the stew.
A professor of the theory and practice of social media, Clay Shirky, doesn’t let his students use electronic devices in his classes. It’s not just that he can’t compete with the hardware or the software. Studies show that multitasking is bad for the kind of cognitive work required in a classroom. It has a negative effect on memory and recall. One study showed that students who multitasked in class scored lower than those who didn’t. The presence of electronic devices also distracts those who aren’t using them. “I’m coming to see student focus as a collaborative process,” Shirky said (Washington Post, September 25).