Saturday, May 10, 2014

Rain is pouring down and down, grass is greening, buds are swelling before my eyes. Radishes are up, peas are up, arugula is up. The garlic greens are six inches high. The plants seem to tremble with eagerness under the steady, soaking rain.

Yesterday Tom spent the morning working on his photographs; later in the day he went into the forest and cut cedar poles for a new clothesline. I read poetry collections, worked on an essay, then turned over garden soil and dragged brush and pruned raspberry canes. Paul was away at a track meet, so just the two of us were home for dinner. I roasted potatoes, sauteed dandelion greens in bacon, made a tomato salad. Tom washed the dishes. We drank coffee and tea. We talked a lot, about nothing in particular. It was a good day.

Today could be another one. I will read more poems; I will finish reading a novel; I will do housework and cook spicy red beans with cornmeal dumplings. Paul and I will plan our June foray to New York City.

Saturday Night in Connellsville (1994)

Dawn Potter

Because, across a crowded table,
the man you have loved for twenty-five years
catches your eye and breaks into a smile
so bright it could light up the Yukon;

because, as you smile back through the candle flame,
your lanky fifteen-year-old leans all his wiry,
vibrating weight against your shoulder,
and your chair shudders and your neighbors laugh;

because when you put your arms around your boy
and press your cheek into his bristly hair,
he reaches for your hand and holds it against his own cheek
and doesn’t let you go;

because the man on the tiny stage dances
over the guitar strings as if his fat hands
are as fragile as the snowflakes
that sift slowly from the unseen sky;

because the crowd breathes alongside you
in easy patience, in careful, quiet joy;
because even time has paused
to shift its flanks and listen,

you say to yourself:
I will remember this.
I will remember this forever.

[from Chestnut Ridge, a verse-history-in-progress of southwestern Pennsylvania]


Ruth said...

Dawn, I really like this poem. It reminds me of all the wonderful "because-s" in my life too. Rain here too and no power at home so it is a reading being sort of day.
I am still pondering the Wallace Stevens poem trying to formulate what I want to say.

Dawn Potter said...

Ruth, thank you. I was just saying to Tom that, after all of those decades spent with farm animals, it still feels like a vacation to be able to sit around on a Saturday morning in my pajamas, drinking coffee and reading. No heaving myself out into the weather and the muck, unless I feel like going there. And I'm glad you're still thinking about that Stevens poem. I keep holding it in my mind as well. There's something mysterious and beautiful and unsettling about it, like a smooth white stone on a gravel road.

Maureen said...

I also like this poem a lot, Dawn. It has a settling and settled feeling to it. And the love in it comes through so beautifully.

Dawn Potter said...

Thanks, Maureen. There are those moments, amid all the dross, when one sees through to the core of the matter. They're hard to write about, though, because they usually come across as soppy and sentimental. Still, what's wrong with some sentimentality now and again?