Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's been so hot. The peonies I bring into the house as buds are overblown by sunset. Gusts of thunderstorm wind carry the fragrance of roses and wet asphalt. The gloaming is overrun with fireflies and quarreling hummingbirds. The blue-edged sky is a painting by Titian. In Boston Big Papi hits a grand slam as Tom and I play cribbage and drink ice tea. Upstairs, in our attic bedroom, the fan roars.

Now, at dawn, the temperature still hovers at 70 degrees. Everyone except the poodle and the hummingbirds is still in bed. I am sitting at my kitchen table, drinking coffee, half-reading an Iris Murdoch novel, thinking about the poems of William Blake, trying to remind myself to plant a new batch of lettuce seeds before I leave for the Frost Place on Saturday. As usual at this time of year, I have been poring through Frost's notebooks, and his voice--cranky, opinionated, mysteriously exact--is lingering in my ear. In sound, it is nothing like the austere cacophony of Blake.

Now, at dawn, the chickadees are repeating their little hoarse tune. The rose-breasted grosbeaks crack seed at the feeder. The sky is a deep, almost blackened, blue, veiled by linen cloud. Frost writes, "There is a residue of extreme sorrow that nothing can be done about and over it poetry lingers to brood with sympathy. I have heard poetry charged with having a vested interest in sorrow."

Yes. And this beauty is its own sorrow, one that is also such pleasure to mourn.

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