Wednesday, June 26, 2013

True Red Geranium

20-SAM_0169 by jhhymas
20-SAM_0169, a photo by jhhymas on Flickr.
I told you about this yesterday, and here is a portrait, taken with the Samsung NX-1000, which is turning out to be a sharp, quick, useful little camera. I got it from WOOT! Every time I buy something from that site, I am reminded of my old neighbor, Fernando, who told us about WOOT, and always called me up if they had a special on photo paper, on which he thought I spent toooo much. He also got us started on computing in early 1983 (Apple IIe) and both computing and WOOT have been important to me ever since. He died several years ago from something called Burkett's Lymphoma; I still miss him.

The geranium is called Viva Big Red and is billed as the "first true, deep red." This was the last one left, beautifully grown, and I snatched it up! Now to keep it going all summer. I try to have a porch geranium every year--the climate seems suited for that and they do flower for a long time. My mother-in-law always had beautiful orangey-red geraniums in a planter under her window in the years right after my marriage. She was a truly hard-working woman, and was always very nice to me, so I am often surprised at the conflicts I hear about.

I was rolling right along with Richard Yates today, until I misplaced the book when I got up to answer the phone. So I switched back to John Cheever. I am sure this is not a good idea, since they lived at about the same time and I am sure to become confused. But the reading News Of The Day is the book of essays by Janet Malcolm called

Forty-one False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers 

I started it on my lighted Kindle in the night and read a lot more this morning. Since it is essays, I could keep pretending that I would just read the few more pages of the one I was on. The first one, on artist David Salle is riveting. I have read several of these essays over the years in the New Yorker, which often publishes her work, but I didn't mind at all reading them again, As soon as I finish posting tonight, I look forward to running upstairs and finishing the book before I go to sleep. And, happily, there is a lot more Malcolm available on Kindle.

Tonight's poem is the last of the ones I brought with me by Li Young Lee, when I left his books in Idaho.
It is the most mysterious to me but offers up irresistible beauties and quite makes my mind hum! Follow the seed, the sown, the births/deaths to the wee man carving a name on a stone, Here it is!

My Father's House

Here, as in childhood, Brother, no one sees us.
And someone has died, and someone is not yet born.

Our father walks through his church at night
and sets all the clocks for spring. His sleeplessness

weighs heavy on my forehead, his death almost
nothing. In the letter he never wrote to us

he says, No one can tell how long it takes a seed
to declare what death and lightning told it

while it slept. But stand at a window long enough,
late enough, and you may some night hear

a secret you'll tomorrow, parallel to the morning,
tell on a wide white bed to a woman

like a sown ledge of wheat. Or you may never
tell it, who lean across the night and miles of the sea,

to arrive at a seed, in whose lamplit house
resides a thorn, or a wee man carving

a name on a stone, the name of the one who has died,
the name of the one not born unknown.

Li-Young Lee from Book of my Nights, BOA Editions, LTD, page 23.

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