The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday

The Lovers
By James Merrill

They met in loving like the hands of one
Who having worked six days with creature and plant
Washes his hands before the evening meal.
Reflected in a basin out-of-doors
The golden sky receives his hands beneath
Its coldly wishing surface, washing them

Of all perhaps but what of one another
Each with its five felt perceptions holds:
A limber warmth, fitness of palm and nail
So long articulate in his mind before
Plunged into happening, that all the while
Water laps and loves the stirring hands

His eye has leisure for the young fruit-trees
And lowing beasts secure, since night is near,
Pasture, lights of a distant town, and sky
Molten, atilt, strewn on new water, sky
In which for a last fact he dips his face
And lifts it glistening: what dark distinct

Reflections of his features upon gold!
--Except for when each slow slight water-drop
He sensed on chin and nose accumulate,
Each tiny world of sky reversed and branches,
Fell with its pure wealth to mar the image:
World after world fallen into the sky

And still so much world left when, by the fire
With fingers clasped, he set in revolution
Certitude and chance like strong slow thumbs;
Or read from an illuminated page
Of harvest, flood, motherhood, mystery:
These waited, and would issue from his hands.


I met James Merrill when I was a student at Penn, before his premature fact he judged a poetry contest that I won a prize in, so I feel sort of funny about loving his work because that definitely predisposed me to loving him passionately, though I was already somewhat in awe of him when I met him before the contest results were announced. His poems tend to be quite long and I am afraid of typing them in and missing words or punctuation marks, but I highly, highly recommend him. The Changing Light at Sandover is one of those life-altering reading experiences.

Yesterday perkypaduan and I watched Better Than Sex (well, we watched the movie once, and we watched Dave having an orgasm in the tub about five times). It's hysterically funny and has the Dave!Ass. And Dave being self-deprecating about coming too fast. I cannot recommend this movie highly enough.

I am taking perkypaduan to see M&C again tomorrow. Even if I have to buy her lunch or ply her with liquor or something to get her to let me.

Oh, and jommy is trying to kill me with Faraboro.

A gratuitous photo of Aragorn and Boromir with their tails in a circle.

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