Measured Extravagance

13 May 2004 - 9:45 p.m.

"First she is an ancient queen
In pomp and purple veil.
Soon she is a singing wind.
And next, a nightingale.

How fine to be Narcissa,
A-changing like all that!
While sitting still, as still, as still
As anyone ever sat!"

    - Gwendolyn Brooks, "Narcissa," Bronzeville Boys and Girls

"I have a secret place to go.
Not anyone may know.

And sometimes when the wind is rough
I cannot get there fast enough."

    - Brooks, "Keziah"

"For forty-three years he was the antislavery-preaching, peace-preaching minister of the South Congregational Church in Boston -- a church which was neither South nor Congregational, but Unitarian and, after it moved from Roxbury, in the Back Bay. He was later Chaplain of the Senate and, throughout his life, constituted a sort of one-man ecumenical movement. On one occasion, criticized for having taken Communion in an Episcopal church -- Trinity Church in Boston -- by an Episcopalian divine who concluded by wondering where Dr. Hale received his invitation to come up to the altar rail, Hale replied by saying he got his invitation two thousand years ago."

    - Nancy Hale on her grandfather, Edward Everett Hale, in her introduction to A New England Boyhood

Pleasures: honeysuckle next to the porch, a gardenia posy now in my kitchen, a purring cat next to my lap, David Massengill singing "On the Road to Fairfax County," microwavable stuffed peppers, productive meetings, two new poems drafted (and a third starting to gel). . .

Hey, look, I was listening to "Fairfax County" at this time last year, too.

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