A Poem for a Thursday #38

I am in New Hampshire on vacation this week and everywhere there are lupins in bloom. They are planted in gardens and growing wild and neglected by the side of the road. They are beautiful. I went looking for a poem about them and found this by Seamus Heaney.

They stood. And stood for something. Just by standing.
In waiting. Unavailable. But there
For sure.  Sure and unbending.
Rose-fingered dawn's and navy midnight's flower.

Seed packets to begin with, pink and azure,
Sifting lightness and small jittery promise:
Lupin spires, erotics of the future,
Lip-brush of the blue and earth's deep purchase.

O pastel turrets, pods and tapering stalks
That stood their ground for all our summer wending
And even when they blanched would never balk.
And none of this surpassed our understanding.

Seamus Heaney

Brona has snuck a poem into her book review this week. Reese at Typings has several Philosophical Limericks.

Peace and Quiet

Quiet mornings with my book and a cup of tea.

A walk by the lake with my husband.

Sitting on the deck with only the sound of the breeze through the trees.

Chat, just chat, with all stressful subjects banned for the week.

A drive up the road looking for moose; we haven't seen any yet but I live in hope.

Cell phones that don't work here.

A game of cribbage or two.

Conversations that don't have to be edited for the ears of teenagers who hear everything except what you want them to hear.

Puttering around with my camera.

The slow letting go of the constant anxiety that has been dominating our lives.

A cabin just big enough for two.

Plans for a hike tomorrow.

Ice cream and chocolate at any and all times of day.

The sound of the river across the road.

Falling asleep in the middle of the afternoon and waking up to realize it doesn't matter because there is nothing you need to do.

Finishing a book and immediately reaching down and picking up another one.

Another cup of tea and another quiet conversation.

New Hampshire, I think I like you.

A Poem for a Thursday #37

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
W. H. Auden was a British-American poet. I first read his poetry in high school when we were assigned "Funeral Blues." I loved it when I first read it and I love it still but, since it is one of his most well-known poems, I was going to use something else. However, nothing else seems to be quite right today so "Funeral Blues" it is.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message 'He is Dead'. 
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever:  I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good. 

Funeral Blues
W. H. Auden

Reese at Typings is sharing another poem this week. 

Lazy Days

Monday was the first day of summer. I know this because my daughter's alarm did not go off at 5:30 a.m. School ended the week before and now we have ten glorious weeks without homework, rigid schedules, and last minute panic about gym clothes that should have been washed but weren't. Summer doesn't start based on a calendar or the weather. Summer starts when school ends.

I'm relishing the summer because I know the days are numbered where I will have a kid with the summer off; a kid who wants plans and trips to the beach and who is happy to have me involved in these plans. Thankfully, my schedule changes a bit in the summer too so I have time to spend frivolously.

So, how did my daughter and I spend our first day of summer? Bathing suit shopping. Anyone who has a daughter or who has ever been a 13-year-old girl knows what that was like. Yes, she was miserable. Yes, I was miserable. No, she still doesn't have a bathing suit. We will have to repeat the whole process tomorrow since she is going to her grandparent's house and wants to be able to swim. Pray for us both.

When I was a child summer break seemed endless. There were long, lazy days to be spent running through the sprinkler, visiting grandparents, and reading book after book. There was a much-anticipated week spent at the shore. There were bike rides and sleepovers with friends and hamburgers cooked over an open fire. There was an endless vista of days stretching before me with only the hazy outline of another school year far in the distance. Now I know that the summer is short and, as my children grow up, the summers only get shorter. Those ten weeks will be gone in the blink of an eye. But I want to grab at them for my daughter.

I want her to have time, endless time, to read a book, lie in the grass and stare at the sky, go to the beach and yes, even spend way too long playing a video game. I want her to have fun. I want to have fun too.

But first, there is a bathing suit to buy.

A Poem for a Thursday #36

Photo by Dawid ZawiƂa on Unsplash

It is Wednesday evening as I am writing this and this week feels like it has been five million years long. Five million years filled with niggling annoyances, small disappointments, and way too many trips to the grocery store. Also, I've been waking up at 3:00 in the morning with my brain absolutely convinced I need to worry about absolutely ridiculous things. Who needs sleep when you can revisit every awkward or unpleasant conversation you have ever had in your life?

I meant to write a nice, chatty post earlier this week but my laptop died (see previous paragraph about annoyances and disappointments) so I am only managing my usual Thursday poem post. My husband managed to temporarily resurrect my laptop but its days are numbered and I am writing this expecting it to die again at any moment.

Today's poem is by Judith Viorst. I have featured her before but this poem seemed like an appropriate choice. Happiness in little things seems like a good goal for the week.

Is a clean bill of health from the doctor,
And the kids shouldn't move back home 
more than a year,
And not being audited, overdrawn, in
in a lawsuit or in traction.

Is falling asleep without Valium,
And having two breasts to put in my
And not (yet) needing to get my blood
pressure lowered,
my eyelids raised or a second opinion.

And on Saturday nights
When my husband and I have rented
Something with Fred Astaire for the VCR,
And we're sitting around in our robes
The state of the world, back exercises,
our Keoghs,
And whether to fix the transmission or
buy a new car,
And we're eating a pint of rum-raisin ice
on the grounds that 
Tomorrow we're starting a diet of fish,
fruit and grain,
And my dad's in Miami dating a very nice
And no one we love is in serious trouble
or pain,
And our bringing-up-baby days are far
behind us,
But our senior-citizen days have not
It's not what I called happiness
When I was twenty-one,
But it's turning out to be
What happiness is.

Happiness (Reconsidered)
Judith Viorst

Reese at Typings is sharing another poem this week.

A Poem for a Thursday #35

Photo by Pisit Heng on Unsplash
Elinor Wylie was an American poet and novelist. She was known for what she herself called her "small, clean technique." Wylie grew up in a socially prominent family and was expected to be a debutante. She rebelled against this life and her subsequent marriages and affairs caused a scandal. She suffered from poor health, including high blood pressure that caused incapacitating migraines, and died young.

Poets make pets of pretty, docile words:
I love smooth words, like gold-enameled fish
Which circle slowly with a golden swish,
And tender ones, like downy-feathered birds:
Words shy and dappled, deep-eyed deer in herds,
Come to my hand, and playful if I wish,
Or purring softly at a silver dish,
Blue Persian kittens, fed on cream and curds.
I love bright words, words up and singing early;
Words that are luminous in the dark, and sing;
Warm lazy words, white cattle under trees;
I love words opalescent, cool, and pearly,
Like midsummer moths, and honied words like bees,
Gilded and sticky, with a little sting.

Pretty Words
Elinor Wylie

Reese at Typings is sharing a lovely poem this week.

Summer Plans

My daughter and I are going to Scotland in August.

That statement deserves to stand alone because we are very excited about it. I have wanted to visit Scotland for years and Celia is happy to go anywhere with castles and history and afternoon tea.

 We have never gone on vacation just the two of us so this is a big deal. My husband talked us into it. A friend of mine took her daughters to Italy last month and he thought it was a great idea. He is still recovering from his motorcycle accident last fall and doesn't have the energy to do a big trip. Our son has a chronic health condition that is making it difficult for him to travel right now. If we want a vacation we are going to have to go on our own. So we are.

I'm a little nervous about being the only adult solely responsible for dealing with all the logistics of the trip but I am sure it will be fine. I have traveled to the U.K. a number of times before and what is the worst that can happen? I get a little lost or look a little clueless occasionally. I think I will survive.

We are staying in Glasgow because it is cheaper than Edinburgh but we intend to take the train to Edinburgh once or twice. Celia wants to go to the zoo because there are pandas there and she is a huge animal lover. We are trying to decide on a couple of other day trips by train. Loch Lomond isn't that far and I saw photos of the Isle of Arran and it looks absolutely gorgeous. Then there is Stirling Castle and Celia really wants to visit a castle. It is so hard to pick. If you live in the Glasgow area and have suggestions please let me know.

Of course, I will manage to squeeze in a few bookshops. This trip is mainly being built around Celia's interests though and, while she loves to read, I am sure she does not want to spend the whole week going from bookshop to bookshop. So, again, if you live in the area, tell me the bookshops I absolutely can't miss.

I have spent the last couple of weeks researching things. How do I get from the airport to the city center? How much does the train from Glasgow to Edinburgh cost? How far is too far for a day trip? I don't think a week is going to be nearly long enough. I am already planning a return trip so we can visit the Highlands.

So, talk to me about Scotland. Do you live there? Have you been there? Do you dream of going?