The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday and Indianapolis Lemurs

Here and Now
By Stephen Dunn

          for Barbara

      There are words
I've had to save myself from,
like My Lord and Blessed Mother,
words I said and never meant,
though I admit a part of me misses
the ornamental stateliness
of High Mass, that smell

      of incense. Heaven did exist,
I discovered, but was reciprocal
and momentary, like lust
felt at exactly the same time—
two mortals, say, on a resilient bed,
making a small case for themselves.

      You and I became the words
I'd say before I'd lay me down to sleep,
and again when I'd wake—wishful
words, no belief in them yet.
It seemed you'd been put on earth
to distract me
from what was doctrinal and dry.
Electricity may start things,
but if they're to last
I've come to understand
a steady, low-voltage hum

      of affection
must be arrived at. How else to offset
the occasional slide
into neglect and ill temper?
I learned, in time, to let heaven
go its mythy way, to never again

      be a supplicant
of any single idea. For you and me
it's here and now from here on in.
Nothing can save us, nor do we wish
to be saved.

      Let night come
with its austere grandeur,
ancient superstitions and fears.
It can do us no harm.
We'll put some music on,
open the curtains, let things darken
as they will.


Tuesday was a catch-up day for me, though a reasonably successful one. I had a morning dentist appointment (no cavities, go me), then finished all the laundry from our trip and folded it while watching A Summer in Genoa (thank you, sfaith). I liked it, didn't love it, thought the acting was better than the dialogue in many scenes; was glad the older daughter was treated sympathetically but wished her character had been better fleshed out and a bit less stereotypical-teenage-girl-in-rebellion, and was baffled what to make of the state of mind of the younger daughter in the end. As grieving professors played by Colin Firth go, I preferred George in A Single Man for a whole host of reasons, but I must note to be fair that I wouldn't blame anyone for having a crush on any professor played by Colin Firth.

The kids were less than thrilled to be back at school, though apparently they both got to watch movies in various classes whose teachers weren't back yet. Adam and I both went out to take photos of neighborhood flowers -- the azaleas started coming into bloom while we were out of town, and the trees have gone from budding to fully green, plus it was 80 degrees again and gorgeous in the woods -- and I shifted my closet, which anyone reading this who has a too-small or weirdly-shaped closet knows is a major seasonal chore (winter stuff in the back inaccessible corner, summer stuff to the front). We all watched the expanded Glee episode, which felt like a hypocritical after-school special but at least had terrific music this week (even without Sue, it was such a pleasure to get so much Kurt, some decent Santana, and Rachel in an actual storyline instead of getting songs other people should have been allowed to sing).

Here is the lemur colony at the Indianapolis Zoo, which can be seen from all sides, including the picnic area -- we ate lunch while watching them. In addition to the adults, whom we think have been studying behavior from our cat Daisy, there are two adorable tiny babies!


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