I went out to the hazel woodbecause a fire was in my headcut and peeled a hazel wandand hooked a berry to a threadand when white moths were on the wingand moth-like stars were flickering outI dropped the berry in a stream,and caught a little silver trout….(Song of Wandering Aengus)
The Song of Wandering AengusI went out to the hazel wood, Because a fire was in my head, And cut and peeled a hazel wand, And hooked a berry to a thread; And when white moths were on the wing, And moth-like stars were flickering out, I dropped the berry in a stream And caught a little silver trout. When I had laid it on the floor I went to blow the fire a-flame, But something rustled on the floor, And someone called me by my name: It had become a glimmering girl With apple blossom in her hair Who called me by my name and ran And faded through the brightening air. Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done, The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.
Strike, with hand of fire, O weird musician, thy harp strung with Apollo's golden hair; fill the vast cathedral aisles with symphonies sweet and dim, deft toucher of the organ keys; blow, bugler, blow, until thy silver notes do touch and kiss the moonlit waves, and charm the lovers wandering 'mid the vine-clad hills. But know, your sweetest strains are discords all, compared with childhood's happy laugh—the laugh that fills the eyes with light and every heart with joy. O rippling river of laughter, thou art the blessed boundary line between the beasts and men; and every wayward wave of thine doth drown some fretful fiend of care. O Laughter, rose-lipped daughter of Joy, there are dimples enough in thy cheeks to catch and hold and glorify all the tears of grief.
Winter StarsI went out at night alone;The young blood flowing beyond the seaSeemed to have drenched my spirit's wings—I bore my sorrow heavily.But when I lifted up my headFrom shadows shaken on the snow,I saw Orion in the eastBurn steadily as long ago.From windows in my father's house,Dreaming my dreams on winter nights,I watched Orion as a girlAbove another city's lights.Years go, dreams go, and youth goes too,The world's heart breaks beneath its wars,All things are changed, save in the eastThe faithful beauty of the stars.
When I heard the learn’d astronomer; When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me; When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them; When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in thelecture-room, How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself, In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time, Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
I used to be a poet.My words were traded in marketplaces like pieces of gold.Merchants bought my verses for as much as they paid for saffron and Indian jade.Now I am old...drunk on wine and candle fumes.Alone in this barren room, I speak my psalms to the night air so as to entertain moths before they go off to die.I used to be a poet and my words were gold.
I took the dog out for a walk tonight, and together we wandered across the meadow next door. It was a warm summer's night, dark, and moonless. There were a handful of fireflies flickering intermittently, some so close to me I could see they were burning green as they flew, and some further away, who seemed to be flashing white.And in the sky above them a continual roil of distant summer lightning (the storm distant enough that it was silent) burned and flashed and illuminated the clouds. It seemed as if the lightning bugs were talking to the lightning, in a perfect call and response of flash and counterflash. I watched the sky and the meadow flash and flash while the dog walked ahead of me, and realised that I was perfectly happy...
When I wasn’t in the barn garden, helping out, sorting seeds or checking hoses I’d spend time alone, usually in the bathroom adjacent to Joel’s room, staring into the shattered mirror as my hand gently caressed my baby bump.More often than not I would cry. Not because my pregnancy upset me, or that my hormones were getting the better of me, but because I missed Joel, my baby’s father. That the baby would grow up without a dad made me anxious. Then again, if he had survived, what irreparable damage would he have suffered and how would his pain translate to his child? Jesus, I was studying myself in the very mirror he’d smashed the night he chose to take his own life.The bump had grown slowly in the last couple of months. With these limited resources, I didn’t have the privilege of eating whatever I craved. Had that been the case, I was sure I would have been bigger by now. Still, I tried to eat as well and as often as I could and the size of my belly had proven that my attempts at proper nutrition were at least growing something in there.Nothing made me happier than feeling my baby move. It was a constant source of relief for me. In our present circumstances, with no vitamins and barely any meat products save the recent stash of jerky Earl had found in an abandoned trailer, my diet consisted of berries, lettuce, and canned beans for the most part. Feeling the baby move inside me was an experience I often enjoyed alone. I would think of Joel then as well. Imagining his hand on my belly, with mine guiding his to the kicks and punches.
OtherwiseI got out of bed on two strong legs. It might have been otherwise. I ate cereal, sweet milk, ripe, flawless peach. It might have been otherwise. I took the dog uphill to the birch wood. All morning I did the work I love.At noon I lay down with my mate. It might have been otherwise. We ate dinner together at a table with silver candlesticks. It might have been otherwise. I slept in a bed in a room with paintings on the walls, and planned another day just like this day. But one day, I know, it will be otherwise.
Back home, I went to my closet and pulled out the old engineer’s transit case stored there. When we were kids, Emma and I had found it in the attic, dusty and empty, and the leather strap used to carry it had a small cut in it. The tag on the top of the wooden-hinged lid read Circa 1907. It was mostly weatherproof and offered plenty of room for the things I valued—like books.