Elsewhere somewhere in the house beyond my seeking.
I have been so dislanguaged by what happened
I cannot speak the words that somewhere you
Maybe were speaking to others where you went.
Maybe they talk together where they are,
Restlessly wandering, along the shore,
Waiting for a way to cross the river.
Mr Ferry, an emeritus professor at a place with a pond, Wellesley, reminds this reader of how the in- tensity of Friday's embraces is so well distributed between intimacy and cognition. Immediately before the poem here reproduced, he recalls his magnificent translation of Virgil's narrative of Orpheus' loss of Eurydice, probably the greatest heartbreak in art. Then one comes to this contemporary text, written with mature reflection of a life in awareness of Orpheus, and instantly it suits and responds to the virulent dichot- omies of our instant: the grotesque "polar- isation" of political parties, not only here; the alienations in Mr Galassi's glor- ious poems, cited repeatedly above; in yet the tendernesses of the blithe and sweet fellows who made us laugh in the very dark- est times - Harlan Greene, Peter McGehee, Joe Keenan, Ethan Mordden, too many to name by way of limitation - and Mark Doty, our peer of Cavafy at least, who held us together by breaking apart for us to see. The power of what words let us do for each other is gorgeously sustained in this text.
Who can give enough credit to George W. Bush for his discovery of the cut-up doting soccer mom, precursor of what is being called the oppressed waitress in the present election cycle? Notable for not merely voting against interest but redirecting whole dorms of the Electoral College into the counter-intuitive column, the soccer mom's availability to [evidently] any fratbreath demagogue of a cockier future has descended upon the republican consciousness as almost unimaginable in its irony, and certainly unendurable in its effects. But it has become axiomatic: if you wish to outdrive your opponent in a round of politics, tee off from the ladies' tee, set forward enough to corrupt the course.
It's enough to make one sen- timental for poliomyelitis.