Wednesday – October 28 – Denise Levertov “Greyhaired, I have not grown wiser, unless to perceive absurdity is wisdom.”
Work week’s middle; Autumn’s about 1/3 finished (if you count from the equinox in September to the winter solstice in December); lots of leaves still around but more of them are blowing around our feet. Weather.com says there will be brisk clean winds coming out of the West/Southwest at a good clip (12-14 mph); mostly cloudy with peeks of sun; no rain. Yesterday afternoon’s surprise; bright sunshine as I walked back from a meeting c. 5:15. I stopped out in front of Lansing Reilly, struck by wind gusts playing with the taller trees behind the chapel’s tile roof. The chapel blocked my view of their bottom 2/3rds and made it seem as if the tall trees were great sailboats surging across the skies. I stood still a little while, taking what the earth and trees and chapel roof had on offer. Someone who knows me came up behind me: “looking at those leaves I bet.” “You bet,” I answered.
Why does all this mid-work-week beauty remind me of Denise Levertov’s poem about falling in love as an elderly woman? The poem is as improbably playful as the leaves riding the wind gusts. Maybe that’s why I stopped; or maybe it was that bright sun.
These are busier than usual days; it’s good to stop and breathe a little.
Have a good day.
Ancient Airs and Dances
I knew too well
what had befallen me
when, one night, I put my lips to his wineglass
after he left–an impulse I thought was locked away with a smile
into memory’s museum.
When he took me to visit friends and the sea, he lay
asleep in the next room’s dark where the fire
rustled all night; and I, from a warm bed, sleepless,
watched through the open door
that glowing hearth, and heard,
drumming the roof, the rain’s
Greyhaired, I have not grown wiser,
unless to perceive absurdity
is wisdom. A powerless wisdom.
Shameless heart! Did you not vow to learn
stillness from the heron
quiet from the mists of fall,
and from the mountain–what was it?
You have forgotten already!
And now you clamor again
like an obstinate child demanding attention,
interrupting study and contemplation.
You try my patience. Bound as we are
together for life, must you now,
so late in the day, go bounding sideways,
trying to drag me with you?
Denise Levertov – Evening Train