Sunday, November 10, 2013

Oak Leaves

This club of oak trees has several members growing in this neighborhood. The fallen leaves shine as if they had been cut from leather. Had another Daily Walk today and got cookies & cider or hot chocolate in the park at a small soiree for the neighborhood council. Several small and well-behaved dogs also came, but I didn't see anyone feed them cookies. The weather was perfect, as could be hoped for, but not expected, in November.

Coleridge (In Coleridge; Early Visions) is still dithering about whom to marry, but got the word from Mary Evans in this installment that she had chosen someone with better prospects. So he has (re)turned to Sara Fricker, the sister of Robert Southey's betrothed. He has also taken up the money making career of giving popular lectures at a shilling. They are very popular, but stirred up the populace dangerously, so he prudently gave them up. (It made me wonder: if I gave a lecture and charged, say, a quarter, would I even make gas money? Both poets are still planning a commune on the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania.

(Memory Thread Alert!) My family went for a day trip to the Susquehanna when I was in Junior High. The founder of our church, Joseph Smith, was baptized here, according to the story, by Heavenly Beings. This part of Pennsylvania is quite lovely, wooded and verdant. The riverbank had many of those flat, rounded stones. We brought enough home to make the car ride low. My mother used them to make a rock garden on the slope where we had removed a cobblestone retaining wall with a cement slab top. I used to play here endlessly. She sent for rock garden plants; I loved the Hens and Chickens. We spent much time nurturing the plants we sent away for. And in a few years we moved to The Farm and left Scotia behind. The other night I looked on Google Earth to see if the house was still there. It is, and it looks great!

The rock garden is gone; a very similar retaining wall has replaced it.
And so things go; everything changes
and everything remains the same.

Here is a small memory thread poem from Stay Illusion by Lucie Brock-Broido, Knopf, 2013, page 87.
This is one of the most BEAUTIFUL poetry books I have held recently!

Medieval Warm Time

Before the Iron Curtain, before the sadder
Century, the one I was born into as
A little Cosmonaut, creeping in bomb shelters
With Mr. White, the school custodian
Who shoveled the coal while I occupied the alcove
Of my ways, it was so warm inside.
That ice age was a little one, a few hundred years about
One thousand years ago. That was all before buttons
And their holes has been considered closure,
Before there was a left shoe from the right.
My mother's hair was ginger-colored, somewhere where
                       It's even colder than it will ever be again.
Everything I ever wished for----
A Dalmatian bounding spotted through the snow.

                        ---Lucie Brock-Broido

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