Sunday, October 14, 2012

Aimless Reading: The V's, Part 9.1 (Virgil)

Eclogues and Georgics
Eclogues and Georgics

Purchased at Talking Leaves...Books.

I bought this a few years ago while writing a review of Ed Roberson's City Eclogue for ecopoetics. I felt like I needed a little better grounding in the form of the eclogue before I could understand what Ed was trying to do with it.

I sent to the review to Jonathan and then forgot about it. After a couple of years, he wrote me with some editorial comments. I remember reading them and then removing about half of the review. It read a lot better after that, though by then I'd nearly forgotten what I'd written.

Jonathan was just here two weeks ago, however briefly. He was doing a bit of a farewell tour before he heads off to his new job in England. He and his wife, Isabelle Pelissier, arrived on a Friday evening. We ordered three pizzas from Press, an "artisan" pizza restaurant around the corner from our apartment. We ordered one "fungi" pizza (mushroom and carmelized onions), one white pizza with tomatoes, and one margherita.

Under the old chandelier in our dining room  ate and drank and talked until we were nearly sleeping in our chairs. The conversation turned for quite a long time to a discussion of our early lives among our very different families. I remember laughing hard most of the night at the stories we all told.

Jonathan is terribly allergic, so the two of them slept in our bed, which is located in the only room in our apartment not infested with animal hair. The next morning we ate breakfast and then took the obligatory spin across the Yale campus. I took them to the Beinecke, where my friend Jamie, one of the security guards, let me take everyone downstairs to see the office areas and so forth.

We spent a long time lingering over a map used by Lewis and Clark that hangs in one of the meeting rooms. Upstairs, we looked at the Gutenberg Bible and the Audobon books and the two exhibitions currently showing, one on Stein and the other a collection of Modernist print materials from the Peter Eisenman collection.

Then we wandered back to the house and off they went.

from Eclogue 1

                          Never again shall I,
stretched in green cave, behold you from afar
Hang from the bushy rock; my songs are sung;
Never again will you, with me to tend,
On clover-flower, or bitter willows, browse.
Yet here, this night, you might repose with me,
On green leaves pillowed; apples ripe have I,
Soft chestnuts, and of curdled milk enow.
And, see, the farm-roof chimney smoke afar,
And from the hills the shadows lengthening fall.

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