[lit-ideas] Re: Sunday Wotsit

  • From: David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 11 Oct 2009 12:52:44 -0700

When the Fairey swordfish or "stringbag"--so known because of all the stuff it was cleared to carry, and because stringbags, in the days before paper bags and stern green lectures,

were what you brought your shopping home in,
also, though Wikipedia says no,
I think it was because the plane's two wings were wired together and so resembled the mesh of such a bag--
when the Fairey swordfish attacked the Bismark, in May of forty one,
because the recommended height for torpedo release was eighteen feet above the water,
guns on board that ship fired high,
could not be depressed so low.
Judging how far in front of such a slow plane the flak bang should happen
was not easy either.
So the ruddy rudder was disabled,
by dint of pluck on the one hand and considerable bad luck on the other.
Meanwhile, on another completely different page of the web,
I found a Russian icebreaker that smashes its way,
courtesy of two nuclear reactors,
through to the north pole for the benefit of those who can pay
rates starting at $22,690 per person.
It's quite the holiday,
two saunas, a spa, a dance floor, a woodshop, an elevator and a helicopter,
also massages on board.
Having spent the week thinking about memory and forgetting, I'm now reminded of a story from my childhood, before decimal money, about how things get garbled.
It begins with a general sending the following message,
"send reinforcements, we're going to advance."
What reaches headquarters is,
"send three and fourpence, we're going to a dance."
On the warm day that is this Sunday in October,
a slow-starting day, today,
this is how my mind,
a finch with grapes in view,
sticks, digests, flits.


David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon
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