For a Birthday
By Thom Gunn
I have reached a time when words no longer help:
Instead of guiding me across the moors
Strong landmarks in the uncertain out-of-doors,
Or like dependable friars on the Alp
Saving with wisdom and with brandy kegs,
They are gravel-stones, or tiny dogs which yelp
Biting my trousers, running round my legs.
Description and analysis degrade,
Limit, delay, slipped land from what has been;
And when we groan My Darling what we mean
Looked at more closely would too soon evade
The intellectual habit of our eyes;
And either the experience would fade
Or our approximations would be lies.
The snarling dogs are weight upon my haste,
Tons which I am detaching ounce by ounce.
All my agnostic irony I renounce
So I may climb to regions where I rest
In springs of speech, the dark before of truth:
The sweet moist wafer of your tongue I taste,
And find right meanings in your silent mouth.
It was very warm and sticky on Sunday morning, as I discovered when I went to meet Pokemon friends in the park, where I caught my second shiny Ho-oh in as many days. We had eggs for lunch and went to the C&O Canal, where the water was lower than we expected because it had been diverted into the very high Potomac River -- probably a good decision, given that we had afternoon rain forecast, though the worst of the storm went northeast and did massive damage in Ellicott City, which has only just recovered from the 2016 flood. There weren't many people by the canal and we saw lots of frogs, turtles, birds, and wildflowers.
Our kids went to the Woodland Park Zoo together in Seattle, then Daniel went to his regular Dungeons and Dragons game night and Adam went to meet up with his roommate for the summer in Bellevue. Maddy had to work in the heat. Meanwhile I went out to dinner with Karen, Erin, and our husbands at Matchbox, where I had a very good pear and goat cheese salad and we shared a brownie ice cream sundae. When we got home, we watched this week's Westworld and last week's Graham Norton Show. Tomorrow is a big birthday for my dad so I will be spending it with my parents, sister, nieces, and friends watching baseball!