Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bound Feet and Mr. Eliot

The Rockrose Moon (A Serial Fiction) Part 41

So Thomas Sterns Eliot had a male relative, an uncle I think, who was quite instrumental in the foundation of Portland’s liberal institutions. Two that come to mind are Eliot Hall on the lovely mist laden Reed College campus and First Unitarian Church.

One of the guys I’ve been sleeping with promised me I wouldn’t have to eat breakfast if I would come to church with him this last Sunday. Turns out he is a Unitarian of sorts. His other bribe was the music and they did have a lovely prelude violin piece “The Lark Ascending" by Ralph Vaughan Williams. I like the pianist.

(I think I am too old now to be a secret pleasure and the guys twice my age like to parade me around in public, we are not talking about my very recent birthday, okay?)

There was a fire drill, and I had the distinct impression I was being shown off as we all exited and walked across the street under a most beautiful tree in full fall red leaf.

When we returned, the sermon was about salt and they read a lovely poem about salt by Neruda, actually it was a modest poem but it was a real poem.

But then in the middle of the sermon, the minister read a “poem” by a Viet Era Vet about losing himself in the water while fishing and regaining his inspiration. It was collected in the book by the loathsome Maxine Hong Kingston. She really really should have stuck to novels, because her forays into memoir and poetry are crimes against nature.

I was disappointed as all get out. Here is this learned minister who seems like he should know the difference between the Neruda poem and the piece of writing by the unnamed suffering Vet.

Musing on this made me think of the marvelous interview here with Stephen Hough. Take a listen before they take it off the site.

He has some interesting things to say about why pianists aren’t allowed to be composers anymore and why Mr. Eliot and Mr. Joyce may have something to do with why the bright minister can’t tell the difference between a clear modest piece of poetry and a piece of classroom narrative prose.

Christian is encouraging me to leave the Gelato place and go work at this very chic but at the same time Portland funky shoe store over on the other side of town. He pointed out the window display was full of obscure books about ballet the other afternoon.

I could read up on the history of the Port de Bras while getting a massive discount on some intensely cool shoes…

Monday, October 01, 2007

Saddle Mountain

Nothing quite like going hiking to bring some color to the page.