Thanks, Darcy. Good words for Mike...
Dear Carol and Mike,
I've loved seeing how, in these posts, we find ourselves talking about the words we use to talk about Mike. It seems a fitting tribute to Mike's deep attention to language. I was especially touched by Jean's and Alison's posts today, because just last night I found myself making a list of the words that I associate with Mike, and of course "arms" and "glee" and "King Wenceslas" were all on it. here are some others:
Open (as in arms, or a bottle of hearty red wine)
Aha, (intrigued) or Aha! (triumphant)
Cher (only those of you who witnessed that historic game of charades will understand, but I have never since been able to think of Cher any other way)
Gruncle (the grieces and grephews know)
Cahoots (long story that includes Partridge's etymological dictionary)
But mostly right now I wanted to share someone else's words. Looking at the poem Directions, posted earlier by John Lampman, I was very struck by how it echoes Levine's Ask For Nothing. When Ross and I were married, you gave us this poem as a kind of blessing or totem - stipulating only that we were to change the "alone" in the first line to "together." Tonight we offer it back to the two of you, likewise, and with all our love.
Ask For Nothing
Instead walk together in the evening
heading out of town toward the fields
asleep under a darkening sky;
the dust risen from your steps transforms
itself into a golden rain fallen
earthward as a gift from no known god.
The plane trees along the canal bank,
the few valley poplars, hold their breath
as you cross the wooden bridge that leads
nowhere you haven't been, for this walk
repeats itself once or more a day.
That is why in the distance you see
beyond the first ridge of low hills
where nothing ever grows, men and women
astride mules, on horseback, some even
on foot, all the lost family you
never prayed to see, praying to see you,
chanting and singing to bring the moon
down into the last of the sunlight.
Behind you the windows of the town
blink on and off, the houses close down;
ahead the voices fade like music
over deep water, and then are gone;
even the sudden tumbling finches
have fled into smoke, and the one road
whitened in moonlight leads everywhere.
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