Measured Extravagance

07 April 2004 - 11:21 p.m.

So, so tired, and still no high G to speak of, but I drafted a new poem in the supermarket parking lot right before rehearsal, and there's one I wrote last fall in this week's Clean Sheets.

And there are yet more trees now in bloom in my back yard, branches so lavish with shining white and pink petals I catch my breath almost every time I step outside. I pass my neighbors' yards, so cheerful with clusters of periwinkle and purple phlox. [1] Sometimes I find myself ridiculously near tears as I try to accept that I will not always be around to savor all this - and simultaneously wildly joyful and grateful, for I'm invariably and inevitably reminded that my being here at all seems to me such a tangle of accident, coincidence and deliberate design. Such sweetness each season - oh, abiding and abundant grace.

At noon we have rain, which washes away the snow,
and at dusk, when I stand on the river bank and watch
the approaching boat contend with the current,
a mixture of rain and snow comes down. . .

[. . .] The bare willow shrubs bend toward the water with
a rustling sound, the river suddenly grown dark. . . .If
there is a storm we shall have to spend the night among
the willows and in the end get drowned, so why not go on?
We put the matter to a vote and decide to row on.

    Raymond Carver, "Downstream" (after Chekhov), All of Us

[1] "O Song, what will become of me when spring
Brings its sweet renewals, every part
Of heaven down-raining love on all the earth,
If, in this frozen dearth,
Love, that spares all the rest, still wrings my heart?"

    (Dante, Canzone XI, trs. Sayers)

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