Sunday, September 29, 2013

Turkey in the Straw

Or, more precisely in this morning's autumn weeds and grasses. I was pleased to catch the backlight through the wattle. Handsome, no? Tonight S made spaghetti sauce with fresh tomatoes. Mushrooms. Came out great! I am still in love with that autumn treat, sliced cucumbers in vinegar. Just like Mom used to make. This cucumber was chilled, crisp and from my daughter's garden.

I had an amazing, wonderful letter from my second cousin, R, in last night's email. All about our shared family based in Arizona. But my folks moved away and I didn't know most of these people. R visited my mother in Utah much more than I did. Of course, I lived farther away, but it still makes me a little ashamed. How little we know about what goes on in the lives, hearts and minds of other people, even those we are closely related to. How self-interested I have been, preferring to let other people manage without my attention. Oh, well. They did manage.

When I said I was going to not give you so much Adam Zagajewski, I thought I meant it. But tonight's poem is another one from  his Unseen Hand, translated by Clare Cavanagh FSG, 2009, page 67.


And the impassive Garonne flowed in silence
like an Indian brave in plumes of sun.
No one saw, no cameras,
only an azure eye, absolute ignorance
serenity, glory, bliss.
A letter opener
lay on the wooden table,
a handful of nuts, a purple plum
that shone violet
as in a Spanish canvas,
a worn-out plastic ballpoint
with dark streaks of poetry.
Is it a memory
or the promise of new life?

Without the ballpoint, this would not be nearly as fine a poem. The shift it takes at that plastic implement seems to be at the very the heart of it. The Garonne is a tidal river headwatered in the Pyrenees, and far from Poland, Why might it be more impassive than other rivers, I do not know. But Garonne has a lovely mellow sound. A short poem made of a river, a still life, a pen, poetry and a question. And somehow, deeply satisfying. 

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