Labor Day

September 9, 2009 § Leave a comment


Labor Day: First fall meal: roast pork with apples, wild rice and parsnips. Charles and I talked about all our possible futures—living arrangements, money—the various strands of love, sex and friendship that unite us and our desired others. We agreed that we don’t like it that our lovers have to (choose to) lie. But we keep them anyway. Or, in my case, keep him in mind.

Then we took a long walk through the mostly deserted Village, the quiet blocks west of 7th avenue I never get tired of, past a deli with an abundant outdoor flower display hitting us with a wave of rich perfume, and a stoop with a couple of paperbacks left out—Leslie Fiedler’s Love and Death in the American Novel, and Elie Weisel’s Night.  I remember reading those books. They made me feel like a grownup. Now they make me feel old. We finished the evening at home eating Haagan Dazs’ new ice cream flavors, passionfruit and ginger. Charles put the oregano oil I use for female complaints on his serving. At least he won’t be having any yeast infections this week.

Today—Wednesday—Charles is reading my fantasy novel and even though this isn’t the sort of thing he ever reads on his own, so his reaction may not be terribly relevant, it matters to me. I’m going to show it to a few other people this month. Then, we’ll see. I need to stuff myself with beauty this month to counteract all the anxiety.

This is one of my favorite poems. I had it memorized, before my brains started leaking out.

Ode to Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

–John Keats


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