Thursday, March 31, 2011

"No -- seals do"

Calista's tumblr is really quite marvelous, consider, for instance, this new post, quoted in full:

W. H. Auden (from “Shorts”)

  Many creatures make nice noises,
  but none, it seems,
  are moved by music.

in the margin, E. Bishop:

   no — seals are
[ed.] The context here is Bishop singing to the seal in "At the Fishhouses":

Cold dark deep and absolutely clear,
element bearable to no mortal,
to fish and to seals . . . One seal particularly
I have seen here evening after evening.
He was curious about me. He was interested in music;
like me a believer in total immersion,
so I used to sing him Baptist hymns.
I also sang “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”
He stood up in the water and regarded me
steadily, moving his head a little.
Then he would disappear, then suddenly emerge
almost in the same spot, with a sort of shrug
as if it were against his better judgment.

3 comments:

Jenny Davidson said...

Yes, very good!

Calista said...

To what may be my lasting shame, Sarang, I misremembered it: it's "seals are," not "seals do" (and it's emphatically underlined).

Sarang said...

Shall fix -- I did briefly wonder about that put it down to E.B. being drunk as usual.