What a tearjerker a national anthem is. This morning, lathering honey on my online New York Times (Le Monde is an afternoon paper which, when I am here, I read on paper, enjoying the civilized pleasure of walking out to a neighbourhood kiosque, pulling acopy out from underneath the top copy on the stack, fumbling for the coins, exchanging a word or two with the vendor, then on to the boulangerie for supper's loaf) I happened across a rendition of La Marseillaise at the Metropolitan Opera matinee yesterday, and the tears welled up. Seconds before, I had been wondering about the difference between the Paris shootings and a drive-by or multiplex mass murder in the US. Well, I can see the obvious differences, but basically--?
One of the things I did when I first arrived here in Paris in September was to go through my poetry books and take some down for the US bookshelf, which is relatively empty. That made some space on the shelves, but it also made two tall stacks of books on the left side of my desk. This morning I reshelved Les Murray, whom I've been reading, and took two Berrymans from the desk pile. I hesitated, wondering if I was still interested in the Berryman voice, but opened "Homage to Mistress Bradstreet and other poems," and began reading. And it is good, I'd forgotten how good, how full but trim (Les Murray is full, but not trim--he's more of an Australian Whitman).