the end of a long week, month

The last day is always the worst, but today wasn’t so bad as last days go. Sure, I didn’t get anything done, except answering a few neglected emails, but the children were breakfasted and dressed at a reasonable hour and Claire came willingly to school.

I’m enjoying Billy Collins’ Best American Poetry of 2006. Full of cracking lines, lovely villanelles, crisp sestinas, an accomplished double abecedarian. From Krista Benjamin:

“Letter From My Ancestors

“We wouldn’t write this,
wouldn’t even think of it. We are working
people without time on our hands.”

From Amy Gerstler’s “For My Niece Sydney, Age Six”:

“Dear girl, your jolly blond one-year-old
brother, who adults adore, fits into
the happy category of souls mostly at home
in the world. He tosses a fully clothed doll
into the inflatable wading pool in your
backyard (splash!) and laughs maniacally
at his own comic genius. You sit alone,
twenty feet from everyone else, on a stone
bench under a commodious oak, reading aloud,
gripping your book like a steering wheel
of a race car you’re learning to drive.
Complaints about you are already filtering

The best thing I’ve read in the last day, though, was the note from my Dad reminding me that his best friend Ivor Wong worked at Arup for many years. Indeed I remember this story from when I was a kid:

“Durham University needed a pedestrian bridge to connect the student residential estate to the main campus because there was a small river between them and the students had to walk down a very high, steep river bank and up the other side. The technical problem was the construction of the bridge on such a restricted site. The story showed that Ove had been thinking about this bridge on an airline flight and had drawn a sketch of a bridge based on an elephant and had shown how the bridge could be built along the river bank on a rotating base and then rotated 90 degrees to its final location.”

Little bit of poking around reveals that the bridge was actually built in two halves, each of which pivoted on its foundation until together they spanned the gorge. As if my Dad and I stretched out our arms and touched fingertips across the Pacific Ocean and 35 years.

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