By Robert Penn Warren
In silence the heart raves. It utters words
Meaningless, that never had
A meaning. I was ten, skinny, red-headed,
Freckled. In a big black Buick,
Driven by a big grown boy, with a necktie, she sat
In front of the drugstore, sipping something
Through a straw. There is nothing like
Beauty. It stops your heart. It
Thickens your blood. It stops your breath. It
Makes you feel dirty. You need a hot bath.
I leaned against a telephone pole, and watched.
I thought I would die if she saw me.
How could I exist in the same world with that brightness?
Two years later she smiled at me. She
Named my name. I thought I would wake up dead.
Her grown brothers walked with the bent-knee
Swagger of horsemen. They were slick-faced.
Told jokes in the barbershop. Did no work.
Their father was what is called a drunkard.
Whatever he was he stayed on the third floor
Of the big white farmhouse under the maples for twenty-five years.
He never came down. They brought everything up to him.
I did not know what a mortgage was.
His wife was a good, Christian woman, and prayed.
When the daughter got married, the old man came down wearing
An old tail coat, the pleated shirt yellowing.
The sons propped him. I saw the wedding. There were
Engraved invitations, it was so fashionable. I thought
I would cry. I lay in bed that night
And wondered if she would cry when something was done to her.
The mortgage was foreclosed. That last word was whispered.
She never came back. The family
Sort of drifted off. Nobody wears shiny boots like that now.
But I know she is beautiful forever, and lives
In a beautiful house, far away.
She called my name once. I didn't even know she knew it.
Quiet domestic Sunday here. Older son had Hebrew school, then a meeting with his science group, which apaulled stayed to help supervise this week. Last week the father of one of the other kids said that our son seemed restless, to which I could only say, duh -- they refuse to meet on Saturdays because they have other commitments, making it necessary for our son to go there right after Hebrew school for three hours without any sort of break...he is losing his entire Sunday every week because they won't be flexible and do it early or late on a Saturday, and he can't really go home with the kid after school to work without our having to pick him up across the county in rush hour traffic. Grr.
I went for a walk with younger son on the trails through the back of our neighborhood, which make a big circle and pass three decent-sized playgrounds, two of which have swings and one of which has a big double slide. He rode his scooter and kept up a running narration in which we were in a video game passing innumerable menaces hidden behind the trees, which he could demolish by making exploding noises. He also hummed appropriate theme music. I believe that I was not quite a good guy -- at least, I was radioactive -- but because of this I was able to make a "radioactive leaf pile" at the foot of the slide for him to crash repeatedly into as he came down headfirst (a process which, of course, had to be repeated a great many times as he went through several "levels" of the game). There's also a huge boulder in the woods, undoubtedly deposited there long before the housing development and impossible to move, which allegedly had a computer built into it, and to my great amusement the computer spoke in the voice of Sid (Russell Crowe) from Virtuosity saying "Uh uh uh, I thought of that one too," over and over. This is the only moment of the movie he has seen other than the very first one, when I stuck in the DVD to make sure it worked, so the fact that he even remembers it is pretty remarkable.
We had dinner at my parents' since my mother is back in town and my father is having what is hopefully the last of his treatments tomorrow (thanks everyone who has asked about him). Have chocolate, and must buy more tomorrow because when they invited us, I gave my parents the box of candy I bought for my husband, figuring I could replace his while he's at work but I had no time to get one for them, hee. My kids have SO MUCH SUGAR: when did Valentine's Day turn into Halloween in February? Every kid in my younger son's class included some kind of sweet or heart-covered pencil or some other little gift!
sio, having read my post about my cat bathroom problems, linked me to note_to_cat, a very amusing community. Am halfheartedly and somewhat apathetically watching the Grammys as I write this, it's always good to see Bono and Steve Tyler looks like he's had so much work done, his skin is smoother than his daughter's now, and what a shock that the dead guy won but it's not like I'm a passionate Alicia or Green Day fan. I would like to note that I love love love love Melissa Etheridge (I love love love love Janis too, and was wary of other people performing her music, but Melissa is just the absolute greatest), and I was surprised to find that JLo and Marc were lovely together -- I've never liked her much before, but I haven't heard her sing in Spanish much, and I've always rather liked him.
There's an older mansion that's been on the site for decades, where people can have weddings etc. and which hosts artwork. This side of the new building faces the grounds looking north up the Pike.
Here is the Baltimore Symphony rehearsing in the concert hall.
The sculpture hanging from the ceiling above one of the staircases.
Happy Valentine's Day. I am going to the dentist, then -- if my mouth is up to it -- meeting my husband for a quickie Valentine's lunch. And then it's business as usual for the rest of the day. *g*