Anniversary

“Summer specializes in time, slows it down almost to dream….” ~ Jennifer Grotz

I too was bent on it, eager to jump
out of the pockmarked skillet and into

the heated cauldron of marriage— Hurry,
hurry
, said the wind, all the while boring

escape hatches in the tall reeds. Hurry
said the lilac, and the jeweled hummingbird

that revved the throttle on its small engine.
Oh, I let them sing their songs of scorching

and I rushed to drink the wine. And oh,
my fingers bled from threading silk

into the needle, from slipping on
my rings of twine. The dish of nectar

tilts from the brittle branches, and the weeds
remain the feathery vagabonds they are… Now

I try to learn the gold-slow rhythms of afternoons,
the thrift of hours from the longer bones of time.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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7 Comments


  1. Wow. That last couplet especially, that’s magnificent.

    I love the semi-veer, not *quite* saying “out of the frying pan into the fire” :-) I end up puzzling over the cauldron. Is it better to be in a cauldron than a fry pan? Yes. No. You don’t drown in skillet, but you don’t spatter in a cauldron.

    He is in haste to live, and hies himself to feel (Pushkin? I think? Lermontov used it for an epigraph.)

    Reply

      1. I misremembered: it’s the epigraph to Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin. That’s the form I saw it in (I have no Russian, alas!) It’s from his friend Prince Vyazemsky. The translation I’ve seen just casually searching now has “To live it rushes and makes haste to feel.” No idea what the antecedent of “it” is.

        Reply

  2. Now /I try to learn the gold-slow rhythms of afternoons,/ the thrift of hours from the longer bones of time.

    RHYTHMS AT SUNDOWN

    On my hammock, on afternoons like this,
    I have the whole sky for a taut canvas.

    It is easy enough to paint a landscape
    rolling on clouds that transform quickly.

    That mass of cumulus moving toward
    the hillocks of Nara is my father’s face.

    I can see my Chloe in a furious pirouette
    among those swirling cirrus. A ballerina.

    Are clouds the sum of all our memories?
    Do they shape the fears that we run from?

    Or have I just run aground, no wind
    on my sail, no seascapes nor harbours?

    On afternoons like this, on my hammock,
    I cull the pictures I have collected, a collage

    of dispersing dwindling drawings on skies
    that darken at sundown drowning them all.

    What have I rushed for, hieing to a country
    of old men? These are empty spaces of empty

    hours, a dull ache that stands for a leftover life
    marking rhythms of time on a swaying hammock.

    —Albert B. Casuga
    06-15-11

    Reply

  3. I’m joining a chorus: I like the last couplet a great deal. I love “gold-slow rhythms of afternoons / the thrift of hours” — love the ambiguity of “thrift” here — it seems to go slowly and fast — sounds like “swift” but the meaning is slow and fast.

    Reply

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