May 26th, 2004

rock shadow

Too late for national poetry month, but ...

Here's a lovely riddle-poem that I rediscovered while perusing my high-school poetry book. Can you solve all of the riddles?

A Martian Sends a Postcard Home

Caxtons are mechanical birds with many wings
and some are treasured for their markings -

they cause the eyes to melt
or the body to shriek without pain.

I have never seen one fly, but
sometimes they perch on the hand.

Mist is when the sky is tired of flight
and rests its soft machine on ground:

then the world is dim and bookish
like engravings under tissue paper.

Rain is when the earth is television.
It has the property of making colours darker.

Model T is a room with a lock inside -
a key is turned to free the world

for movement, so quick there is a film
to watch for anything missed.

But time is tied to the wrist
or kept in a box, ticking with impatience.

In homes, a haunted apparatus sleeps,
that snores when you pick it up.

If the ghost cries, they carry it
to their lips and soothe it to sleep

with sounds. And yet, they wake it up
deliberately, by tickling with a finger.

Only the young are allowed to suffer
openly. Adults go to a punishment room

with water but nothing to eat.
They lock the door and suffer the noises

alone. No one is exempt
and everyone's pain has a different smell.

At night, when all the colours die,
they hide in pairs

and read about themselves -
in colour, with their eyelids shut.

- Craig Raine, 1979
  • Current Mood
    chipper chipper
rock shadow

summer reading

Here's a list of my summer reading. Some books were recommended to me, others have been sitting on my shelf for a while, and others were pseudo-random finds while browsing at libraries or bookstores, or online. I didn't differentiate between these groups, and I also haven't prioritized the books (though those listed first are marginally higher-priority than others, just because they came to mind first). If you have any comments on any of these or suggestions of others, I'd love to hear them!

Nonfiction:** need more design books

  • The Brothers Karamazov (my dad's favorite book)
  • Brave New World (again)
  • Catch-22
  • The Good Earth
  • House Made of Dawn
  • Angle of Repose
  • A Confederacy of Dunces
  • The Sound and the Fury (again)
  • Raven's Exile
  • Breaking Clean
  • Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (the rest) (actually nonfiction, but too entertaining for the list above :~))
  • some Thurber
  • Walden (again)
  • The Bell Jar (the rest)