Sunday, June 22, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
flapping in the breeze
reminded my mother
of the little poem that follows...
A clothesline was a news forecast
To neighbors passing by.
There were no secrets you could keep
When clothes were hung to dry.
It also was a friendly link,
For neighbors always knew,
If company had stopped on by
To spend a night or two.
For then you'd see the fancy sheets
And towels out on the line;
You'd see the company tablecloths
With intricate design.
The line announced a baby's birth
To folks who lived inside,
As brand new infants clothes were hung
So carefully with pride.
And the lines were full of diapers,
So white and bright and clean.
Because in those days of yore,
In stores Pampers were not yet seen.
The ages of the children could
So readily be known,
By watching how the sizes changed
You'd know how much they'd grown.
It also told when illness struck,
As extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too,
Haphazardly were strung.
It said, "Gone on vacation now,"
When lines hung limp and bare.
It told, "We're back!" when full lines sagged,
With not an inch to spare.
But clotheslines now are of the past,
For dryers make work less,
Now what goes on inside a house
Is anybody's guess.
I really miss that way of life.
It was a friendly sign,
When others knew each other best,
By what hung on the line.
Monday, June 16, 2008
from the hammock. I watch my husband wind slithery white rope around
long tan arms and haggard bark. Measures, levels, measures again. He gives me
a lemony kiss when he climbs down the ladder, his teeth
still cold from an icy gulp.
Our daughter scurries around the tree, fingers popsicle-sticky, bare heels
kicking up thyme leaves and grass clippings. Papa’s puns send her
giggles up into whirls and spirals. The black cat lifts his nose
from his cool dint in the lawn, sniffs, and blinks his yellow eyes
at each arc we make through the air.
Almost thirty years earlier, my father winds taut brown rope around
muscled forearms, saws cedar seats, and chooses the perfect tire. He says little,
presses lips together until they almost disappear behind his clipped beard. He gives
gruff directions, but his blue eyes sparkle. This is how so many
years go by, such still lips and flashing eyes, before I understand.
Tonight our little family travels those three decades back
in only four miles. My husband picks winking blackberries, our daughter
spins between splashing and chattering. I sit with my father, four bare feet
iridescent in the pool water. We don’t talk about those silent years,
but he is quoting lines from the poem I wrote. I say nothing, and smile.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I really wish he had put some time & thought into it! :)
by Pablo Neruda
(trans. by Donald D. Walsh)
I have named you queen.
There are taller ones than you, taller.
There are purer ones than you, purer.
There are lovelier ones than you, lovelier.
But you are the queen.
When you go through the streets
no one recognizes you.
No one sees your crystal crown, no one looks
at the carpet of red gold
that you tread as you pass,
the nonexistent carpet.
And when you appear
all the rivers sound
in my body, bells
shake the sky,
and a hymn fills the world.
Only you and I,
only you and I, my love,
listen to it.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
May these vows and this marriage be blessed.
May it be sweet milk,
this marriage, like wine and halvah.
May this marriage offer fruit and shade
like the date palm.
May this marriage be full of laughter,
our every day a day in paradise.
May this marriage be a sign of compassion,
a seal of happiness here and hereafter.
May this marriage have a fair face and a good name,
an omen as welcomes the moon in a clear blue sky.
I am out of words to describe
how spirit mingles in this marriage.