Saturday, February 9, 2013

Saturday commute lxxvii: thinking with Terestchenko

Yesterday, the 8th, the visual
diary of Ivan Terestchenko pub-
photographs on the theme of the
travels of soldiers and sailors.
There is an adjective which most
will find superfluous, but I in-
erject it in a preposterous pre-
caution, that a reader of this
page would not have noticed his.

iii  Anonymous at diary entry
iv   Youth at Seignosse, Terestchenko

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


  More and more, I find myself con-
  sulting my friends for their gen-
  ius in reading the world, not for
  writing it. This is not sensuali-
  ty; everyone understands, this is
  sensibility. It is, famously, the
  more threatening thing. 


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A moment

          It isn't shore leave, but the
          US Navy's renown for the com-
          fort of a ship's company is a
          lesson to us all, need I say.
          And really nowhere does the
          fleet's genius for the genial
          delectations of a voyage draw
          greater delight than in cros-
          sing the international date-
          line. On such occasions, the
          most junior officer on board,
          who has not yet leapt the cal-
          endar this way, is commanded
          to serve the officers and men
          a commemorative sweet, which
          we take to be a salutary prac-
          tice under any circumstances.

          Beneath this portrait from a
          pleasant naval service, slept
          my English Cocker, Whit, for
          his whole life; and possibly,
          in time, a new incumbent will
          succeed him in commanding his
          own biscuit from that perch.

          I, for my part, draw endless
          satisfaction from the faces
          of the crew, enjoying such a
          respite with tradition's qui-
          et ceremony. I remark, that I
          respect this, because I see,
          their servant did.

          To your day, Sailor.

United States Navy
USS Goldsborough, 1967

Monday, February 4, 2013

What can I give him?

For most of the people I would
understand, and who might do
the same for me, this question
adopts a phrasing which trans-
poses it to another realm; and
we all live with many such pre-
emptions. In this case a poem,
later a Christmas carol, beat
us to the punch line, and yet
has framed the natural expres-
sion of my consternation, every
first week in February, as my
brother's birth date looms. In
fact I do not enormously mind;
I'm not sure when I noticed the
correlation of my question, and
the mystification I shared with
Rossetti's impecunious figure;
but the boy had been a chorister
and I accepted it as permitted.

A blog is stamped with personality but is not personal, a reader lately remonstrated to me. What could anyone give, I won-dered, if that were the case? Only our love can make us feel unread. Oh, we'd quarrel. There is turmoil in fruition; authorship's a rubbing clear. 

I would give my brother the fortitude to accept his absence. I would give him the peace he has made with his death. I would give him the imprint of our escapades and larks, our studies and our talks, our sharings of a common bath. I would give him what is shining even clearer in the shade, and I would give him evidence, it mattered how we played.

  Cottage cheese
  Garden peas
  Ovid's Metamorphoses