Poem for Jenny
By Jacqueline Osherow
Larkspur and delphinium, wild and tame
transcriptions of the same essential idiom
(as lullaby, corralled, is requiem,
a sigh, bound and gagged, a lyric poem).
Earth's trying to remake herself with stars,
her own inky domain of skyey colors.
She wants everything. It won't be hers.
Her starry flowers, heedless of safeguards,
will launch their blue and purple rockets heavenwards
and leave her to her dusty browns and reds,
her brief sky shattered, just as words
the good ones, anyway will quit this page
before I ever pay this garden homage
or name the pain I'm trying to assuage.
Nonetheless, these clusters are in flower
if only for an instant, as they were
a year ago, when Jenny (this poem's for her),
knowing how I love them, put them here
to make the way around my house less bitter.
My next-door neighbor, she'd watched things shatter
and so came by to plant and tend and water
and whatever else it is that gardeners do.
And I remember catching a dim glimpse, as if through
an impossible tunnel what's all that blue?
and thinking, as one thinks of something wholly out of view,
how lovely it would be to lay my eyes on them,
though they were there, waiting, each time I came home:
larkspur out the back, out front delphinium
(the cultivated version for the public eye,
its wild incarnation just for me . . . )
and once or twice I did suspect that beauty
and kindliness had aimed themselves my way
but each was such a difficult abstraction,
at best unverifiable, uncertain,
a meteor I wasn't sure I'd seen.
I, who'd been so lucky up to then,
was utterly astonished by what pain
in its purest form can make out of a person.
It was (such things exist) a brutal season
and one that's not entirely departed
though time has passed; flowers, twice, have sprouted.
The earth will be, twice over, broken-hearted,
which means, at least, according to King David,
in his most unnerving psalm, closer to God.
Me? I'd leave some distance if I could
though it would be untrue to say no good
has come from any of this. See? out my window
the earth again has sheathed herself in indigo;
this may be the time she makes it through:
her sapphire daggers, bursting their scabbards,
carve frantic constellations: elfin songbirds
vehement with blue and purple chords;
earth's reaching for her heavens, I for words
or any chink of rapture I can claim.
Delphinium. Larkspur. Larkspur. Delphinium.
Let me claim you as you climb and climb.
Had a pretty quiet but satisfying day; wrote a review of "The Gamesters of Triskelion" which I like better than I probably should, had dinner with my parents and brought over "Trials and Tribbleations" that we all watched on their plasma TV where it looked fabulous...much better than the DVD of "The Trouble With Tribbles" looked on my TV, where the old footage hadn't been cleaned up to nearly the same degree. (My mother made my very favorite comfort food, chicken slop -- shredded chicken in cream of chicken soup -- over puff pastries, for dinner with the chicken boiled for the chicken soup we will be having Wednesday for Passover. Yum.) And now we are watching Forbidden Planet (which turns 50 this year) on TCM, and it's so obvious how much Gene Roddenberry borrowed from it, even if the robot ended up on Lost In Space, so it was a very Trekkie sort of Friday!
1. What's the weather like? At the moment I am writing this, at 5:34 p.m., the sun we had for most of the afternoon has vanished and big dark clouds are rolling in.
2. When is the last time you felt appreciated? Tuesday when my husband brought me a bunch of DVDs he knew I wanted.
3. What is the last bad news you heard? Every single morning I see the words "George W. Bush, President of the United States" on the front page of the newspaper.
4. What is your favorite sad song? Beth Nielsen Chapman's "Sand and Water" is the first that comes to mind.
5. Tell us about something you're obsessed with: You mean besides all the things on my tags and interest lists here? Let's see. Just now I'm obsessed with finding penguin photos taken at various zoos and aquariums we visited for my son, though this is really a second-hand obsession.
1. Do you like chicken? Very much. It's the reason I have not successfully been able to give up poultry. I don't eat beef or pork and if I could get seafood all the time I could probably live without chicken, but seafood is expensive.
2. What is one food you can't live without? Chocolate. Duh.
3. Are you an early bird or a night owl? Night owl.
4. Chocolate or vanilla? See #2.
5. Are you more of a cat person or a dog person? I only have cats at present, which I suppose makes me more of a cat person, but I grew up with a dog and love my relatives' dogs and would be delighted to own one if we had a bigger house and yard for it to play in.
In other fannish news, I got an E on my W.O.M.B.A.T. (which is really very heartening considering I rushed through the test and was not sure I'd manage a passing grade; next time I must study harder, heh), and we all watched Doctor Who which is love!!! (And my current het OTP, though I've been warned that that will likely not last till the end of the series, which is also fine. *g*)
I also really like Mickey's relationship with Jackie - she figures she's safe hiding at his place because it's well known that she hates him so much, no one will look for her there! While the Doctor is telling Rose to tell her stupid boyfriend they're busy (jealous much?), Mickey is beaming Rose a picture of the alien attacking him and her mum, which Rose says makes him not so stupid. The exploding slime alien effect is delightful -- now I know how to use vinegar against attacking ETs with calcium decay -- and the UN taking so long to vote on whether Britain should be allowed to fire its own nukes that the crisis is resolved before the vote is over. But the heart of the episode is the Doctor's fear of getting Rose hurt; he says it's because he promised her mother, but he doesn't listen to her mother at all most of the time. "I could save the world but lose you." Meanwhile Jackie is telling Mickey that she could stop him when he hacks into the Royal Navy computers and fires a missile from an offshore sub, but she doesn't. It's sweet and sad when she goes from planning to invite the Doctor to dinner to yelling at him for taking Rose away from her again (calling her cell phone, "You think I could travel through space and time without a phone?"). He needs to get his anti-domesticity vs. attachment conflict under control...okay, actually he doesn't because it plays so nicely.