A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature. Over 15,000 daily subscribers. Over 7,000 archived posts.
Letter from Saturn The satellites of Saturn have so far been named for the Greco-Roman Titans, descendants of the Titans, Giants, etc. In order to internationalize the names, we now also allow names of giants and monsters in other mythologies (so far Gallic, Inuit, and Norse). —NASA, Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature When you name new moons—and when I say new, I mean strictly that you never knew we’ve been here quite some time, quite content, especially the whist wee ones I swaddle safe from your instantiations in my cowl— when you name us after your mythic giants, do you pause to think how that might make me feel? Perhaps it flats your boat and odds your keel to make a dim shot at atonement for those whom you have hurt on your own star by giving us names of giants from peoples you’ve already shelved as eponymous to yourselves? This makes you feel better about yourselves? Please leave us anonymous. -- Wince i.m. Kenneth Kidd (1961–2019) We were huddled by the Campbell House bar on the penultimate Monday of July downing pint after pint of tepid water. My first reading sober, your last one alive. There’s a video of that sonnet sequence, and in the corner, to my right, you wince when I say that Schumann’s Märchenbilder was composed for viola, not violin. When I look over my shoulder when I watch that video now, there’s no one there. If you were here, if you read this, you’d wince— I can see your pas devant expression, can hear your chortled Well! preface your lesson— and teach me how not to speak of your absence. -- Afterword Our last exchange of which I have record is a mundane text message that I sent to you two months before you died. You didn’t reply to that text message, so the last words are, bizarrely, mine. When I open up that message thread on my mobile phone— yes, I admit it: to revise this poem— I can glean the fact that Tottenham were down to nine men. Bottling it again! as you’d like to say. My lazy orthography— u left ur fedora at the dizzy —verbatim. I’m not sure whether it’s good for me to read that now when I’m off to bed. Ken, you left your fedora at The Dizzy.
Copyright 2022. From Wince by Umit Singh Dhuga published by Ragged Sky Press. Copyright 2022.
Umit Singh Dhuga is a classicist working at the intersections of contemporary ethics and Ancient Greek and Roman thought. His books include Choral Identity and the Chorus of Elders in Greek Tragedy (Harvard University Press, 2011).