By James Lasdun
I'm talking to you old man.
Listen to me as you step inside this garden
to fill a breakfast bowl with blueberries
ripened on the bushes I'm planting now,
twenty years back from where you're standing.
It's strictly a long-term project—first year
pull off the blossoms before they open,
second year let them flower, watch the bees
bobbing in every bonnet,
but don't touch the fruit till year three,
and then only sample a handful or two...
Old man I'm doing this for you!
You know what they say about blueberries:
blood-cleansing, mood-lifting memory-boosters;
every bush a little fountain of youth
sparkling with flavonoids, anthocyanin...
I've spent all summer clearing brush
sawing locust poles for the frames,
digging in mounds of pine needles, bales of peat moss—
I thought I'd do it while I still could.
You can do something for me in turn:
think about the things an old man should;
things I've shied away from, last things.
Care about them only don't care too
(you'll know better than I do what I mean
or what I couldn't say, but meant).
Reconcile, forgive, repent,
but don't go soft on me; keep the faith,
our infidels' implicit vow:
"not the hereafter but the here and now..."
Weigh your heart against the feather of truth
as the Egyptians did, and purge its sin,
but for your own sake, not your soul's.
And since the only certain
eternity's the one that stretches backward,
look for it here inside this garden:
Blueray, Bluecrop, Bluetta, Hardy Blue;
little fat droplets of transubstantiate sky,
each in its yeast-misted wineskin, chilled in dew.
This was your labor, these are the fruits thereof.
Fill up your bowl old man and bring them in.
We all slept a bit late on Saturday, especially Adam who is not fully adjusted to being in this time zone, then we had lunch together and went to Homestead Farm to pick blueberries, which are abundant this season. We also went to look at the blackberries, but very few of them were ripe yet, and the tart cherries, whose season seems to be coming to an end, though we saw a bird's nest made with cherry stems in one of the trees -- both parents and babies were present! And we visited the goats, alpacas, and pigs.
We had Thai food for dinner with my parents, who wanted to hear about Adam's trip, then we went to the food store because we needed both human and cat food and were out of skyr. After we came home and fed the aforementioned starving cats, we watched the first two episodes of Good Omens, which we figured Adam would enjoy. (Apparently we missed the Nationals blowing a substantial lead to the Braves.) I love this part of summer!