Because of the work of her hands (clearing a path through the woods), UD discovered, this time last year, a deer skull. She washed it a bit and placed it in a large white outdoor plant container. Now and then she glanced at its morbid beauty.

It didn’t mean much to her; it was one of several (less aesthetic) deer skulls she had discovered while working in the woods.

Nuno, her Portuguese landscaper, noticed the skull this morning and said to UD: “What kind of animal is that? Where did you find it? How did you get it?” He seemed rather excited.

Nuno explained that he collected animal skulls. “I put colored beads in their eye sockets and feathers on their heads.”


Nuno proposed to pay UD for the skull, and she agreed. He gave her cash, and she gave him the skull.

“I earned money for the household by the work of my hands!” UD exulted to Mr UD and La Kid (staying in ‘thesda because UD is creeped out by the armed camp DC has become – she goes back to the city today). UD liked this phrase and repeated it. “It’s Biblical! The work of my hands!”

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4 Responses to “UD Takes Part in the Ancient Barter System.”

  1. Greg Says:

    Animal Skulls. One of my favorite WS ultra-short poems – generally I prefer “extended wings:”

    The Pleasures of Merely Circulating

    The garden flew round with the angel,
    The angel flew round with the clouds,
    And the clouds flew round and the clouds flew round
    And the clouds flew round with the clouds.

    Is there any secret in skulls,
    The cattle skulls in the woods?
    Do the drummers in black hoods
    Rumble anything out of their drums?

    Mrs. Anderson’s Swedish baby
    Might well have been German or Spanish,
    Yet that things go round and again go round
    Has rather a classical sound.

    – – – –
    It’s just great to incant. As far as I know, Wally never recorded this. But there was a Robert Pinsky reading that disappeared in one web location but still might be found by Googling around.

    Skulls aside, I like it as an ironic comment on determinism. No! Mrs. Anderson’s Sweedish baby could never have been German or Spanish, and our boy WS damned well knew it.

    Still can’t seem to fully understand Trump’s (though not Trumpism) gone.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Greg: LOVE this poem! And never discovered it in my years of WS grazing. Thank you for sending. Reminds me a little of

    In Brueghel’s great picture, The Kermess,
    the dancers go round, they go round and
    around, the squeal and the blare and the
    tweedle of bagpipes, a bugle and fiddles
    tipping their bellies (round as the thick-
    sided glasses whose wash they impound)
    their hips and their bellies off balance
    to turn them. Kicking and rolling
    about the Fair Grounds, swinging their butts, those
    shanks must be sound to bear up under such
    rollicking measures, prance as they dance
    in Brueghel’s great picture, The Kermess.

  3. Greg Says:

    Thank you! I did not know this poem, though I know the Icarus one. Anything Breugel interests me. You might like, Jem Cohen’s “Museum Hours,” filmed to a significant extent in the Kunsthistoriches Museum. I walked out of the theater with a dedication to focus much more on simple things.* Katherine O’Hara’s – yep that KO – sister, Mary Margaret, a true rock star in Canada, was playing one of her few movie roles, and I thought her wonderful. She played a sweet, quiet, straight Canadian woman – visiting a comatose Austrian relative – who befiends, and is befriended by, a philosophical museum guard. No rock music, although she sings a lullaby

    *In this respect as with”Patterson.” Strange, that brings us back to Williams.

  4. Gordon Young Says:

    Oops. Meant to say “philosophical, gay museum guard.” It is a lovely Platonic relationship.

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