Still walking in velvet shoes here…
Let us walk in the white snow
In a soundless space;
With footsteps quiet and slow,
At a tranquil pace,
Under veils of white lace.
I shall go shod in silk,
And you in wool,
White as white cow’s milk,
Than the breast of a gull.
We shall walk through the still town
In a windless peace;
We shall step upon white down,
Upon silver fleece,
Upon softer than these.
We shall walk in velvet shoes:
Wherever we go
Silence will fall like dews
On white silence below.
We shall walk in the snow.
Frosting as an art medium. For my son’s birthday, I decorated his cake with some of his lifelong favorites: dinosaurs, Lego, and Superman, who is demonstrating the mighty power of the written word, in deference to his current pursuit of an MFA in writing. My son’s, that is, not Superman’s. Superman already has his.
A giant chocolate-chip scone on the table this morning, and a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822). Happy Valentines Day, everyone.
The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the Ocean
The winds of Heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being mingle.
Why not I with thine? –
See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdain’d its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?
—Percy Bysshe Shelley
An unfortunate conjunction of events.
A new month, and a poem for this day by Marge Piercy.
Three feet of snow in twenty-four hours
on top of seven inches. Not really
credible here. On the fourth day
we found the car under a six
foot drift and dug it out.
At first we could not open doors.
The post office shut for two days.
Our road had vanished into a field.
We felt the sky had finally
fallen and drowned us.
Six weeks: now patches of ground
emerge from white fortresses.
How beautiful is the dirt
I took for granted. Extraordinary
the wild green of grass islands.
Having the world snatched
from us makes us grateful even
for fence posts, for wheelbarrow
rising, for the stalwart spears
of daffodil uncovered.
Everything revealed is magical,
splendid in its ordinary shining.
The sun gives birth to rosebushes,
the myrtle, a snow shovel fallen,
overcome on the field of battle.
Year of the Horse
Trot about the studio early this morning assembling a quickie door decoration: red and yellow construction paper, downloaded Chinese characters, gold spray paint, scrap of gold lace from the remnant box. Gallop to Yes Natural Foods after school for groceries. At the finish line: dumplings and spicy tofu for dinner. Happy Chinese New Year!
…and a celebration for Colette, Elijah Wood, and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (published on this day in 1813). With apologies all around.
Pete Seeger 1919-2014
New Year’s Resolution: Simplify
This is the time of year we sit down to set goals and make resolutions for improvements in health, relationships, work life, state of mind and heart, and condition of the bathroom medicine cabinet. Here is one possibility. Below are links to others. Happy New Year, everyone!
New Year’s Resolution: Share
New Year’s Resolution: Library Books
New Year’s Resolution: Garden
A December tradition in our family is the Linn Barnes and Allison Hampton Consort Celtic Christmas concert at Dumbarton Church in Georgetown, where our Christmas season is annually launched by beautiful music for lute, harp, flute and drum, accompanied by Robert Aubry Davis’ readings. This ballad is a favorite. Merry Christmas, everyone. May joy, love and peace fill us all and “drive the cold winter away” from our hearts.
Comes in like a Bride,
with Holly and Ivy clad:
Twelve dayes in the yeare,
Much mirth and good cheare,
in every houshold is had:
The Countrey guise,
Is then to devise,
some gambole of Christmas play:
Whereas the yong men,
Do best that they can,
to drive the cold winter away.
When white-bearded Frost,
Hath threatned his worst,
and fallen from Branch & Bryer:
Then time away cals,
From Husbandry Hals,
& from the good Countrymans fire:
Together to go,
To Plow and to sow,
to get us both food and array:
And thus with content,
The time we have spent,
to drive the cold winter away.
—English Ballad, 1625
How did our baby girl come to be FIFTEEN? Yet here she stands, strong, quick-witted, lovely, and nearly my height; by spring she’ll be taller than I.
For her birthday today I post a sketch made on a summertime bike ride. I see it now symbolically, as her gazing into her future: shining, expansive, full of promise. (I hope that doesn’t mean her parents are the two old stumps on the riverbank.) Here also is a tender poem by Mark Jarman, “Prayer for our Daughters.”
May they never be lonely at parties
Or wait for mail from people they haven’t written
Or still in middle age ask God for favors
Or forbid their children things they were never forbidden.
May hatred be like a habit they never developed
And can’t see the point of, like gambling or heavy drinking.
If they forget themselves, may it be in music
Or the kind of prayer that makes a garden of thinking.
May they enter the coming century
Like swans under a bridge into enchantment
And take with them enough of this century
To assure their grandchildren it really happened.
May they find a place to love, without nostalgia
For some place else that they can never go back to.
And may they find themselves, as we have found them,
Complete at each stage of their lives, each part they add to.
May they be themselves, long after we’ve stopped watching.
May they return from every kind of suffering
(Except the last, which doesn’t bear repeating)
And be themselves again, both blessed and blessing.