The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Monday and National Arboretum Azaleas

By Jorie Graham

Sometimes the day
                              light winces
                              behind you and it is
a great treasure in this case today a man on
                              a horse in calm full
                              gallop on Omaha over my
                              left shoulder coming on
                              fast but
calm not audible to me at all until I turned back my
                              head for no
                              reason as if what lies behind
                              one had whispered
what can I do for you today and I had just
                              turned to
                              answer and the answer to my
answer flooded from the front with the late sun he/they
                              were driving into—gleaming—
                              wet chest and upraised knees and
light-struck hooves and thrust-out even breathing of the great
                              beast—from just behind me,
                              passing me—the rider looking straight
                              ahead and yet
smiling without looking at me as I smiled as we
                              both smiled for the young
                              animal, my feet in the
breaking wave-edge, his hooves returning, as they begin to pass
                              to the edge of the furling
                              break, each tossed-up flake of
                              ocean offered into the reddish
luminosity—sparks—as they made their way,
                              boring through to clear out
                              life, a place where no one
                              again is suddenly
killed—regardless of the "cause"—no one—just this
                              galloping forward with
                              force through the low waves, seagulls


We got up early because Adam was coming home from a sleepover party before the birthday boy was taken to church with his parents, and since we were all up, we went downtown early to the National Arboretum, where we knew from the web site that the azaleas were near peak. It was amazingly beautiful -- partially overcast, high 50s, with thousands of azaleas and rhododendrons in every shade of pink, red, fuschia, purple, white, and some peach, orange, yellow, and hybrids of several colors. We spent nearly two hours walking through the Lee Azalea Garden and the hillside flowers, then had lunch at the tables near the visitor center, where unfortunately we didn't get to see many koi because the arboretum had their annual sale to reduce overcrowding in the pond and there were only a few fish left in the basins. After lunch we walked around the Ikebana exhibit, which has new displays since we visited two weeks ago, then took the trail through the field to the National Capitol Columns. There were beds of tulips in bloom there and around the fountains, and wildflowers along the Fern Walk in the woods.

We came home late in the afternoon, had fabulous vegetarian curry stew for dinner, then watched Desperate Housewives -- I am not sure even John Barrowman can keep me watching that show, and that would be true even if he was playing someone I liked -- and The Tudors, which is even more of a soap opera yet somehow bothers me less, though the people are just as exploitative of one another and the worst of them do far, far more damage than any serial killer on DH could ever do. It's a good thing there are a couple of female characters I really adore on The Tudors -- and not even the ones I usually adore, since none of the characters has anything to do with an actual historical portrayal. Then, at the end, Showtime showed an extended preview for The Borgias, and even though I suspect that will have all the flaws of The Tudors and then some, I just cannot resist Jeremy Irons in that costume talking about the shocking behavior of his character -- I have seen him in so many bad movies at this point, yet once in a while he does something to make me remember that when I was 18 he was the sexiest man in the world.


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