Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Visitation: I see a poem in an English muffin; revisionist Anglophilia

Somewhere along the line of my life I stopped being an Anglophile. Affection for knights, all the Elizabeths, the Magna Carta, 1066, 1066 and All That, a host of novelists, poets, playwrights, saucy wenches and Masterpiece Theatre . . . an endless list of received information.

That's not a criticism, not really, because my assimilated version of Anglophilia, enlivened by maps of Middle Earth and family crests, was underwritten by plights of Miss Eyre and Pip. The focus was narrow but not elite. Which sounds naive, but I am.

Sometime in the eighties I watched the final episode of The Forsythe Saga on Masterpiece Theatre (I'd read the Saga during one of my insomniac months in the seventies, while spending a regrettable time in the bizarre household my father and stepmother maintained).

By then I was well on my own, had left a five-year relationship, was living in a quaint dump with a view, in Silverlake.  My adulthood had been launched when I went back to school for a secondary credential. Saga was coincident with my being a high school English teacher. Alistair Cooke bid us goodnight. I turned off the t.v.

And I got rid of it.  Now and then I'll own one for a few months, catch up on this or that, but it's a true addiction for me, a disease doing push-ups in the studios of ABC, CBS, Fox, HBO, Showtime. In no time at all I'll be complaining about Regis' latest skank. (I watch the great shows of late, but a year later, on DVD.)

How did I get here?  This posting's working title was "Visitation: I see a poem in an English muffin."  English? Was that the buttery tipping point?  It's no secret there are poems in every object and subject, melting in nooks and crannies, hiding, merely lurking. Glistening. Begging for the jelly.

Late eighties, early nineties, I'd gone world. As the food pyramid has been revised so have appreciations of culture. I was post-Colonial. I know I wrote this sometime or other here, but I realized classical music, pumped into me and my sisters with urgent conviction, was not top of the food chain but just another vegetable, fruit, protein.

There is a poem in the food chain. And in the pyramid and the Pyramids. Go, my friends, find them, and also some orange marmalade. My English muffin grows cold.

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