Thursday, July 16, 2020

Poetry for a pandemic

To be of use

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Around OakMeadows

Carolina Wren

We are getting a whole house generator. I have wanted to get one for several years. It is not so much for the occasional power outage but for the power outage that follows a hurricane. I am convinced that climate change will mean more hurricanes and more severe weather in general. We spent a miserable 3 days without power after Hurricane Ike even though we had a gasoline generator to keep fans and the refrigerator going. We are now 12 years older and less able to cope with the heat and humidity. I have 2 companies coming out next week to give us estimates. 

The Covid-19 pandemic continues. Google says 137,000 Americans have died from Covid-19; the NYT says 135,324. It is just hard to comprehend so many deaths. We are in the middle of a surge of cases with the daily death toll climbing.  From what I have read, the sequelae in recovery can be both long and serious. Joe and I remain in self quarantine.

It is very pleasant to sit outside under the trees in the mornings and read and watch the birds come to the various feeders. On a typical day, we see
     Blackbirds (Grackles and Red-Winged Blackbirds)
     Carolina Wrens
     Carolina Wrens
     Blue Jays 
     Cattle Egrets 
      Little Sulphurs 
      Giant Swallowtail 
      Gulf Fritillary 
      Occasionally a deer
I find watching the Wildlife very helpful in dealing with the isolation of the pandemic. And, of course, my two cats, Tigger and Henry, and my dog, Angie, do their part to keep the circus going.

I just started reading Walter Isaacson’s very entertaining and informative biography of Benjamin Franklin. More on Old Ben later.