sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey: passion)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote2017-03-05 11:58 pm

You're fractured and cold, but your heart is unbroken

Three things make a very tired post.

1. My poem "And All the Brothers Too" has been accepted by Polu Texni. It was written for [ profile] nineweaving in June, on a coastal train between New London and New Haven and in [ profile] ladymondegreen's office at work; it involves family history, ghosts, WWII submarines, and Twelfth Night.

2. I missed the first forty-five minutes of this morning's Rise Up! rally for trans and queer students, but I made it just in time for the march from Boston Common to Post Office Square. I met up with [ profile] schreibergasse at the beginning and ran into [ profile] dpolicar at the end; in between I discovered [personal profile] skygiants and [personal profile] genarti and was very kindly donated a cough drop by [personal profile] shati, who was carrying the excellent sign "High School Sucks Enough Without Transphobia." There were some very good signs at this rally; because we were in the middle of the march, I didn't even see some of the best until the crowd had filled up Post Office Square and become a rally again. The banner at the head of the march was lettered in a beautiful green-and-black calligraphy and vivid red block capitals on pale gold:

from Standing Rock to Stonewall . . .
Againt Racism, Police Brutality, Gentrification, Islamophobia, Rape Culture & War!

with three clenched fists of different colors in solidarity encouraging the reader to "Fight Back." There were people wearing pride flags and trans flags. There were pussy hats in the original hot pink, but also in bisexual, asexual, agender, trans, and genderqueer colors. I saw at least one navy-blue baseball cap with gold lettering that I assumed belonged to a sports team until I got close enough to read "Make America Gay Again." There were several multi-person signs, including one carried by teachers supporting trans students and a "Black Trans Lives Matter" bearing six of the seven women's names I had heard on Thursday. (The speeches I had missed included a remembrance of all of them, with ASL interpretation.) I liked the four-striped trans flag with a different affirmation on each stripe—"You're Beautiful, You're Needed, You're Loved, You Matter"—and the politics of "Let's Help Trump Transition . . . Out of the White House" and "Keep Bathrooms Safe—Ban Trump." Some expressions of protest and support were personal: "We Are Human," "Sisters Not Cis-Ters," "Here to Fight for My Trans Daughter's Rights." Some were just good sense: "I Stand with Trans Youth Because I Am Not a Sentient Loaf of Ignorant White Bread, Donald." I think the spirit of the event was perhaps best expressed by the blue-haired person whose sign read "Too Mad for Just One Sign" on one side and "Free Gay Hugs" on the other, although the silky-haired Irish setter wearing "I Can Pee Anywhere, Why Can't Trans People?" had a point. I had neither a sign nor a camera, but at least this time I had a voice for the chants, which tended to roll back through the march so that we were always slightly out of synch with somebody, but the rippling wavelike cheers were pretty neat. There was an open megaphone again in Post Office Square; the trans teenager who introduced himself for the very first time as "Andy" got a roaring applause, as did the trans woman who was celebrating her birthday by marching. There were a number of non-binary students talking about progress or difficulty at their schools—more of the former than the latter, which was really nice to hear. The school administrator who got up to speak in support of her trans students also got a well-deserved hand. I don't know the numbers of the crowd; anyone who has an estimate should please point me in its direction. More than the impromptu march of late February, fewer by far than the numbers of the women's march. I keep wanting to see that turnout again for causes that people may think are less universal, that are no less essential. I have hopes for the March for Science. I still want thousands on thousands of people in a city to believe that trans kids and black lives are worth taking to the streets for.

It was blastingly cold. I left the house worried that T-shirt, overshirt, sweater, and coat was winter-layer overkill and came aboveground at Downtown Crossing confident that I had made the right decision. For this reason I am somehow not surprised that I spent more time outdoors today than I had in weeks, having lunch with Schreibergasse at Mamaleh's (I may be on a personal mission to introduce all of my friends to this restaurant) and then running an errand for my mother at the Prudential Barnes & Noble (which we overshot on the Green Line by three stops and had to walk back to along Huntington Avenue, with a shortcut past the winter-drained pool of the Christian Science Center) and then working my way out to Lexington by bus (including a horrifying interlude in the upper busway of Harvard Square, which for some unforeseen reason—the cold or a problem with the ventilation—had turned into an acrid tunnel of smog as the shuttle buses between Harvard and Alewife rattled constantly through; people had pulled their shirts over their faces to breathe and were coughing anyway) and back again. I got home and shared a smoked salmon collar with two enthralled little cats. [ profile] derspatchel has half rights to the bagels, which survived being toted all over Boston and disentegrating their original paper bag. I didn't get more than three hours of sleep again, but the rally was worth it.

3. Thanks to [ profile] moon_custafer mentioning it, I read Eleanor Farjeon's The Silver Curlew (1953) last night and it gave me the weirdest déjà vu. Normally I recognize books when I read them again, even after decades; I remember their language as well as elements of plot or character. Nothing about Farjeon's prose was familiar to me. I had no memory of any of the songs. I guessed the identity of a mysterious character almost at once, but I am good at that sort of thing—mythically significant names, pattern-recognition, years of Diana Wynne Jones. I can't even use the ending of the story as a gauge, since it depended on a fairytale which I came in knowing and a nursery rhyme whose turn I could see coming. But exactly one character-based bit of business was hauntingly familar and scratched at the back of my brain every time it went by and I can't tell now whether I read The Silver Curlew so long ago that somehow nothing else about it went into memory—which would be a near-first for me—or if it's shared with another story by Farjeon or some other author or what on earth, but it made for one of the strangest reading experiences I have had in some time. In any case, I recommend the book. It's the third of hers I've read after Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard (1921) and its sequel Martin Pippin in the Daisy Field (1937); it reminded me a little of Elizabeth Goudge and a little of Greer Gilman. I found out after finishing it that it began life as a Christmas play for children and I'd love to read the original script for comparison, but I can see it in the story's mix of silly comedy and shimmering numinous. It has a clever, prickly heroine and a couple of characters who end up more real than when they started. One strand of it is exactly the sort of thing I would have imprinted on very hard if I'd read it at its intended age, which is part of the reason I keep thinking I must not have. Since I read it as an adult, however, I am afraid the character in question mentally cast himself as Edward Petherbridge and whoever actually played him will have to live up to that.

Charlee Loon, who caught the flounders Mother Codling liked for her dinner, lived in a little shack on the sea-shore. It was black and smelt of tar and salt and seaweed, and when I say Charlee lived in it I only mean that it was his shack, but he himself was seldom inside it. He was oftener to be found in his boat, mooning on the sea when it was calm and tossing when it was stormy. Sometimes he caught things and sometimes he didn't. Sometimes he went out to fish without his nets, and sometimes he forgot where he had set his lobster-pots. But other times he came back with his nets full of slippery silvery herrings or flat white flounders. When he had beached his boat, he usually forgot that he had a shack to sleep in, and lay on his face on the shingle looking for amber, or on his back on the sand staring at the stars. If anybody came along for fish, they could help themselves. It was all one to Charlee. But as like as not, even if there was fish in the boat, they would find him sliding the herring one after another back into the sea, or laying out the flounders in rows on the wet sand, where the next incoming wave would curl over and foam them away. You never knew with Charlee, any more than you knew what his age was. Sometimes he looked one thing, sometimes another; and people were as likely to ask, "Seen old Charlee lately?" as to say, "Saw young Charlee this maarnin', pipin' to them puffins."
alexxkay: (Default)

[personal profile] alexxkay 2017-03-06 05:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you for marching. I intended to, but on the day did not have the spoons to face that cold.
cyphomandra: Painting of a bare tree, by Rita Angus (tree)

[personal profile] cyphomandra 2017-03-06 11:32 pm (UTC)(link)
I am heartened by your descriptions of the protest community, and hope they continue to grow!

Farjeon's The Little Bookroom was one of the books of my childhood, and I took it out from the library's again and again (I was thrilled to finally nab my own ex library copy). I've read the first Martin Pippin, but it didn't stick as well. In the category of authors who are related in my mind (and who also alternated between plays and prose), have you read any Nicholas Stuart Gray? I am very fond of his The Seventh Swan, which is about the last brother from Hans Christian Andrrsens's The Wild Swans, the one left with one swan wing, and which has a Scottish setting and some heart-wrenching character decisions.
cyphomandra: Painting of a bare tree, by Rita Angus (tree)

[personal profile] cyphomandra 2017-03-08 01:27 am (UTC)(link)
I had no idea there was a real connection – thank you!

The Little Bookroom is a short story collection, often with fairy-tale elements, sometimes with what would have been contemporary features – there’s one story which revolves around a railway station chocolate vending machine, for example. Things that show up over and over are nature, intergenerational relationships, kindness and transience, and it worked well for me because different stories would get me at different times. Some of them still make me cry. It’s illustrated by Edward Ardizzone, who was one of the first illustrators I learnt to recognise, and the author’s note is all about books and reading.

I have read other Goudges (Green Dolphin Country, The Little White Horse, Linnets and Valerians) but not that one. She's been an author I've liked but haven't quite loved. The local library system doesn't seem to have Valley of Song, but it might be somewhere else within network...
yhlee: Sandman raven with eyeball (Sandman raven (credit: rilina))

[personal profile] yhlee 2017-03-07 01:32 am (UTC)(link)
Yay poem!
landofnowhere: (Default)

[personal profile] landofnowhere 2017-03-07 02:23 am (UTC)(link)
I'm trying to figure out why Farjeon's name seems as familiar to me as it does. I think it's just that she was the "Eleanor" in the library who wasn't Eleanor Estes; looking through her list of titles I'm fairly confident the only one I ever read was "The Glass Slipper", which I read when 3rd-grade-ish, and I remember as a pleasant enough Cinderella retelling.

I'm also aware that she wrote the lyrics to "Morning is Broken", but I think I learned that when I was in my early teens.
landofnowhere: (Default)

[personal profile] landofnowhere 2017-03-07 02:25 am (UTC)(link)
(goes and looks at her top titles on Amazon to see if any ring a bell). Wait, she wrote "Cats Sleep Anywhere"? I knew the poem as a kid but I don't think I knew its author...
landofnowhere: (Default)

[personal profile] landofnowhere 2017-03-07 02:50 pm (UTC)(link)
It is an excellent short poem in the genre of "bouncy poems for kids". I wasn't even particularly into cats at the time, and I liked it!

link here
landofnowhere: (Default)

[personal profile] landofnowhere 2017-03-07 02:59 pm (UTC)(link)
I remember Eleanor Estes for the Moffat series and for Ginger Pye, though I also read The Hundred Dresses. I don't think I ever read The Witch Family...

I see that Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard is on Gutenberg, so I'll have to try it sometime.

I learned Morning is Broken as a kid from my mother (with help from Rise Up Singing), and I'm fairly sure she got it from Cat Stevens.

[identity profile] 2017-03-06 12:21 pm (UTC)(link)
Your description of The Silver Curlew beguiled me, and the passage completely seals the deal--I'm going to read it.

laying out the flounders in rows on the wet sand, where the next incoming wave would curl over and foam them away --loved everything about that, everything, but especially "foam them away"
gwynnega: (lordpeter mswyrr)

[personal profile] gwynnega 2017-03-06 06:39 pm (UTC)(link)
Congratulations on the poetry sale!

"I Stand with Trans Youth Because I Am Not a Sentient Loaf of Ignorant White Bread, Donald."

There should be a t-shirt.
drwex: (Default)

[personal profile] drwex 2017-03-06 07:57 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks for the rally report. Between weather and personal intestinal issues I did not go anyplace that was not warm and without a known bathroom this weekend.
drwex: (pogo)

[personal profile] drwex 2017-03-06 09:07 pm (UTC)(link)
Fortunately it was merely inconvenient, with intermittent bouts of annoying. I've been through this circus ride before and know how to manage it. Had I gone out in the cold for several hours I would have been in much worse shape.

[identity profile] 2017-03-06 10:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Three wonderful things:

1. Remembrance.

2. Community.

3. Reading.


[identity profile] 2017-03-07 10:06 am (UTC)(link)
You sent me to the shelves for my copy of The Silver Curlew for my bedtime reading: so far I can report little more than that it is illustrated by E.H. Shepard.

Have you read her Perkin the Pedlar?

[identity profile] 2017-03-08 08:16 pm (UTC)(link)
It hadn't occurred to me that there'd be an online version: she must still be in copyright...

Perkin the Pedlar is the one I grew up with: it's a loose framework for a collection of stories built round an alphabet of Englidh (I think) place names.

[identity profile] 2017-03-09 04:57 pm (UTC)(link)
Gutenberg claim to observe US copyright law, which protects works for 70 years after the death of the author. So what matters is not publication date, but the fact that Eleanor Farjeon died in 1965.

I feel mean even pointing this out, and I'm not proposing to tell Gutenberg to do anything about it. But, y'know, I do believe in protecting the rights of the author...

[identity profile] 2017-03-13 04:09 pm (UTC)(link)
I, too, am very 'on the one hand / on the other hand' about it!

[identity profile] 2017-03-08 03:48 am (UTC)(link)
I have loved The Silver Curlew and Martin Pippin since I first encountered them some thirty years ago. Someone really needs to turn Curlew into an opera. Ooo, maybe a folk opera.

edit: I think I mean a ballad opera.
Edited 2017-03-08 03:50 (UTC)

[identity profile] 2017-03-08 07:31 am (UTC)(link)
Peter Bellamy's Silver Curlew is a heartwrenchingly lovely idea.


[identity profile] 2017-03-08 11:53 pm (UTC)(link)
It is. In addition to the house band of Rock and Roll Heaven, and the literary collaborations made possible by L-Space, I also find comfort in the thought of a theater, somewhere, where the curtain never falls and the spotlight never blinds and all the theater artists we've lost are workshopping the Great Possibilities.