Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A few days

The June Seminar is winding down: Nancy Eimers leaves in the morning, and the Fellows depart on Thursday. We'll miss them. I'm already looking toward the rest of my summer--moving my office, completing a few final WB tasks, planning out a new course, transitioning into a new campus, working on new poems and trying to finish one of the two manuscripts I've been juggling for too long now--and the first task alone is daunting. Too much paper. So many books. Another reason to stay home, read for the sheer pleasure of it, spend some time with Randy.

And there's always the garden. The columbines are starting to release their first seeds: the pale green clawlike pods split open and out fall shiny black seeds, smaller than sesame seeds and more rounded, more oval. I want to set up lights on the basement landing (just off the kitchen) and start some more perennials. It's much too hot in the attic now.

* * * * *

Last week, Bill Olsen and I were talking about Thomas Lynch and recommending his wonderful book The Undertaking to someone (can't remember who). Bill said that Lynch was an advisor to Six Feet Under (possibly my favorite TV series ever), and that his name can be found in the credits! How did I not know this?

Here's a poem from Thomas Lynch's Still Life in Milford:


Rose, you are the winter oak
whose spent leaves redden and remain
limp emblems of the heart’s accustomed hold
on this—the known life of seasons,
daylights, nightfalls, weathers—
the ordinary calendars, mean time.
Ordinarily we live our lives out
hopeful and afloat among the rounded metaphors:
seedtime and harvest, dark and dawn;
solstice and equinox, calm, storm.
Ignoring the linear paradigms we move
buoyantly between our pasts and futures
gamely trading prospects for remembrances,
deaf to the regular changing of tenses—
those doorways slamming down the narrowing hall.
Behind the doors, we hear the voices still:
Goodnight. Godspeed. God Bless. Get Well. Goodbye.
The deaths we seldom grieve but set our watches by.

* * * * *
[photo: beetle I released from my office yesterday]

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