May 18th, 2006

ozarque figure

Linguistics; stylistics; sf poetry being made, 2nd round; part 3...

Untitled water poem -- Draft 8
[Link to Draft 7: http://ozarque.livejournal.com/256702.html ]

That was the week when Lilani's father was caught and arrested
for two crimes.
First, for the crime of making unauthorized water.
Worst, for showing children one of the ways it's done.
How to dig the hole in the sand;
how to put the cup at the bottom of the hole;
how to lay the sheet of plastic over the top
and weight down its edges all around with stones;
how to set on the plastic the one last stone to make the cone
where the water runs down underneath, into the cup.
"At the end of a long sunny day," he told the children,
"there'll be water in the cup." Unauthorized water.
When the water police took Lilani's father away,
my own father was furious.
"Damn the man!" my father said.
"Now where am I going to find another butler?"

That was the week:
when the cheapest water at any decent restaurant
went to forty dollars a bottle;
when NorthDeltamerican Airlines doubled the price
of water served on transatlantic flights;
when statistics for Earthwide water-related deaths
were made exempt from the Freedom of Information Act;
when Congress made the drinking of unauthorized water
a felony, trying to stop the deaths;
when Standard Water Corporation proudly announced
third quarter profits of thirty billion dollars.

And that was the week when we celebrated, dutifully,
my parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary.
We sat round our diningroom table together that night,
my parents, and we three dutiful daughters.

There was filet of sole.
There were tiny lush lettuces, served whole.
There were small potatoes, roasted in olive oil.
There was night-dark chocolate nested in golden foil.
There was a silver platter of sharp cheese.
There was a tender flatbread, crusted with seeds.
And there was fine water -- from a very good year --
a separate glass on the table for each one of us.
My father can afford a separate glass
for each one of us.

My mother gave my father a handsome fountain pen,
and a box of slender bottles of waterless ink.
My father gave my mother a golden necklace
strung with a dozen tiny crystal vials,
every vial filled with gleaming water,
pure and and precious and forever shut away.

My sisters said nothing at all. But I’m not like that.
I stood up, and looked straight at my father, and I said to him:
"I suppose the card says to let them drink champagne?"
ozarque figure

Research; recommended link...

You might want to look at a brief PDF paper titled "A corpus-based approach to finding happiness," by Rada Mihalcea and Hugo Liu, at http://www.cs.unt.edu/~rada/papers/mihalcea.aaaiss06.pdf .

The abstract says: "In this paper, we employ 'linguistic ethnography' to seek out where happiness lies in our everyday lives by considering a corpus of blogposts from the LiveJournal community annotated with happy and sad moods. By analyzing this corpus, we derive lists of happy and sad words and phrases annotated by their 'happiness factor.'... "