February 16, 2005

BUT YOU DID NOT COME

In honor of Annika's poetry Wednesday, I offer a selection from This Is My Beloved, my favorite book of poetry of all time. It was my grandmother's book, and I used to read it sneakily in her house and titter at some of the more intimate passages. When my grandmother moved into a nursing home and whittled her belongings down to one cabinet, I got the book. Now that I am older, I no longer titter. I could read this book a hundred times -- I have -- and still find new delights. Today's passage reflects my mood...

                I waited years today . . . one year for every hour,
all day -- though I knew you could not come till night
I waited . . . and nothing else in this God's hell meant anything.

I had everything you love -- shellfish and saltsticks . . . watercress,
black olives. Wine (for the watch I pawned), real cream
for our coffee. Smoked cheese, currants in port, preserved wild cherries.

I bought purple asters from a pushcart florist and placed them where
they would be between us --
imagining your lovely face among them . . .

But you did not come . . . you did not come.
You did not come. And I left the table lit and your glass filled --
and my glass empty . . . and I went into the night, looking for you.

The glittering pile, Manhattan, swarmed like an uncovered dung heap.
Along the waterfront
manlike shapes all shoulders and collar walked stiffly like shadow figures.

Later, the half-moon rose.
                                        Everywhere the windows falling dark.
By St. Mark's church, under the iron fence, a girl was crying. And the old
steeple was mouldy with moonlight, and I was tired . . . and very lonely.

Posted by: Sarah at 06:40 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 this is lovely; quite lovely-- aunt lovey

Posted by: taylor collins ricks at February 18, 2005 09:06 PM (Ya2t1)

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