Thursday, July 26, 2012

Aimless Reading: The S's, Part 40 (Sophocles)

Ajax (Tr. John Tipton)

Sent to me by the publisher.

I took this photograph a few days ago and posted it to flickr, as I do every morning. I even went so far as to load it here and start blogging about it. Then a feeling crept over me that the book was out of place. I think I realized this as I typed out the name, "Sophocles." I thought to myself, I've never read this book, yet I do have another book of Sophocles plays that I have owned for years. I pictured the shelf I'd just taken the book from, and realized that I had not seen that older book next to this one.

Something was out of place. I walked over to the shelf and lo and behold my feeling had been correct! The other book by Sophocles was about three or four books to the right. The names of the authors of all of these books preceded "Soph-" in the alphabet, so there was only one conclusion I could draw: Ajax had been mis-shelved. I replaced on the shelf next to its Hellenic kin and removed "Gary Snyder" instead.

Days passed. Blog posts were written. The path between my living room and my desk at work was traversed. A dogs was walked. A baby was fed, changed, burped, played with, kissed. Meals were cooked eaten. Books were read. Hair was cut and styled. Phone calls were made. Sleep was slept. Alarms went off. Snooze buttons were hit. Movies were watched.

Things were discussed at work, for instance possible titles to a new exhibition of modernist art magazines and how latinate words in English sound clunky in academic titles. Also German science fiction, samizdat publications, gay New York writers of the fifties, and how to imagine a future workspace following a reconstruction involving the movement of large numbers of staff permanently off-site.

Pictures were taken. Newspapers scanned. Dreams dreamt, for instance a very bad one about taking a plane to Spain and realizing we'd left the baby at home without a sitter.


Finally, this morning arrived, and Ajax was removed from the shelf (by me). Ajax was re-photographed (by me). Gray skies made for a blurred photo, so the photo taken previously (by me) was used in place of the one from the other day. The photo was uploaded (by yours truly), tagged (me too), and sent over to blogger (you guessed it).

A bog post was begun. The passive voice was deployed to comic effect. The blog post ended.

from Ajax

Ares draws dread from the eye
and now again yo-ho
now the sharp white
gleams in day's light
as a fast aircraft
Ajax lists off weightless
and obeys natural selection
kills his victim by the book
time eats it all
don't repeat the unsaid
it's such a surprise
Ajax altered in mind 
he finds a path to peace

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