Flame under the bubbling water.
Blue flame. Water ready for tea.
Amber infusion soon to be seeping,
Leaves about to uncurl. Here
Is a tin, a spoon, a cup, an open
Teapot saying, Nobody else but me
To nobody else but you: awaken,
Pour. What are you waiting for?
I read this recently while hiking in the Scottish highlands at Glencoe…
- Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
- The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth;
- Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
- The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.
- My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
- My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
- Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
- My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.
- Farewell to the mountains, high-cover’d with snow,
- Farewell to the straths and green vallies below;
- Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods,
- Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.
- My heart’s in the Highlands …
2017 has been a wonderful year…for reading. These books comprise my (non poetry) assorted best of list, for now. Who knows what the fall bring?
- An alt history more entertaining than Inglorious Basterds: The Yid by Paul Goldberg
- She made something beautiful out of Brexit: Autumn by Ali Smith
- Best book about living in and loving an old house: Plant Dreaming Deep by May Sarton
- Innovative, timely, and the likely inspiration for a dream about magic doors: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
- The Underground Railroad is not his only fantastic book: The Intuitionist and Zone One by Colson Whitehead
- A brilliant, old fashioned Texas tale: News of the World by Paulette Jiles
- Wildest game of tennis / world history ever: Sudden Death by Alvaro Enrigue
- World fail me, but I distinctly remember the scene that made me feel buoyant: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
- I finally read: King Lear by Shakespeare
- Favorite I-reads (Irish and Indian): The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, City of Bohane by Kevin Barry
- It’s never too late for anything: The All of It by Jeannette Haien, Our Souls at Night by Ken Haruf, Olive Kittredge by Elizabeth Strout
- An intriguing discovery: Richard Beard’s first century historical fiction – Lazarus is Dead and The Apostle Killer
- A captivating biography of place: Edinburgh by Robert Louis Stevenson
- Never explain, never apologize: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
- I’ll read anything these two write: The Accidental and Hotel World by Ali Smith; Crusoe’s Daughter and God on the Rocks by Jane Gardam
- The character I can’t forget: The Queen of the Corner in Pedro Lemebel’s My Tender Matador
- On my list of world events I want to understand – the Russian Revolution: October by China Miéville
- Different kinds of funny: The Sellout by Paul Beatty, Hot Water by P.G. Wodehouse
- Short stuff: South and West by Joan Didion, Ninety-nine Stories of God by Joy Williams
- Novels I can’t leave off: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
I love a martini —
But two at the most.
Three, I’m under the table;
Four, I’m under my host.
To everything, there is a season of parrots. Instead of feathers, we searched the sky for meteors on our last night. Salamanders use the stars to find their way home. Who knew they could see that far, fix the tiny beads of their eyes on distant arrangements of lights so as to return to wet and wild nests? Our heads tilt up and up and we are careful to never look at each other. You were born on a day of peaches splitting from so much rain and the slick smell of fresh tar and asphalt pushed over a cracked parking lot. You were strong enough—even as a baby—to clutch a fistful of thistle and the sun himself was proud to light up your teeth when they first swelled and pushed up from your gums. And this is how I will always remember you when we are covered up again: by the pale mica flecks on your shoulders. Some thrown there from your own smile. Some from my own teeth. There are not enough jam jars to can this summer sky at night. I want to spread those little meteors on a hunk of still-warm bread this winter. Any trace left on the knife will make a kitchen sink like that evening air
the cool night before
star showers: so sticky so
warm so full of light