Monday, December 28, 2009

Poem for Monday

By Stanley Plumly

Some--the ones with fish names--grow so north
they last a month, six weeks at most.
Some others, named for the fields they look like,
last longer, smaller.

And these, in particular, whether trout or corn lily,
onion or bellwort, just cut
this morning and standing open in tapwater in the kitchen,
will close with the sun.

It is June, wildflowers on the table.
They are fresh an hour ago, like sliced lemons,
with the whole day ahead of them.
They could be common mayflower lilies of the valley,

day lilies, or the clustering Canada, large, gold,
long-stemmed as pasture roses, belled out over the vase--
or maybe Solomon's seal, the petals
ranged in small toy pairs

or starry, tipped at the head like weeds.
They could be anonymous as weeds.
They are, in fact, the several names of the same thing,
lilies of the field, butter-and-eggs,

toadflax almost, the way the whites and yellows juxtapose,
and have "the look of flowers that are looked at,"
rooted as they are in water, glass, and air.
I remember the summer I picked everything,

flower and wildflower, singled them out in jars
with a name attached. And when they had dried as stubborn
as paper I put them on pages and named them again.
They were all lilies, even the hyacinth,

even the great pale flower in the hand of the dead.
I picked it, kept it in the book for years
before I knew who she was,
her face lily-white, kissed and dry and cold.


I spent a long, lovely Sunday in the Brandywine Valley with my family and Dementordelta at the Delaware Art Museum, which has two temporary Maxfield Parrish exhibits and an Ellen B. T. Pyle exhibit as well as the permanent Pre-Raphaelite collection; the Brandywine River Museum, which has a temporary exhibit on illustrations of Alice In Wonderland and other Lewis Carroll tales as well as the Brandywine Christmas train display, antique dolls, and nature ornament collection; and Longwood Gardens, which has its annual holiday light display, Christmas conservatory arrangements, and ice skating performances. We didn't get home till nearly 10:30 p.m. so here are a few photos, with details to come later!

The entrance to an exhibit on Maxfield Parrish's drawings and sketches included in letters he wrote to relatives and friends while living abroad. The much larger exhibit on Maxfield Parrish's commercial prints and book illustrations did not permit photography even at the entrance.

Me and Dementordelta in the brilliant sunshine of the windows overlooking the scenery in the Brandywine River Museum...

...where we went to see a wonderful exhibit on illustrated editions of Alice In Wonderland and other artwork based on Lewis Carroll's poetry and fiction.

We also ate lunch in the cafe, admired the handmade holiday ornaments on the many trees in the museum...

...and visited the annual holiday doll and train displays, though our favorite thing in the latter was not the trains themselves but this miniature Renfaire.

Longwood Gardens also had a train display... well as gorgeous holiday decorations both in the conservatory and throughout the outdoor gardens.

In addition to indoor and outdoor concerts and exhibitions of the fountains, Longwood has outdoor ice skating performances in the evening.

Here are Dementordelta and myself with the skaters -- I believe these are Shaun Rogers and Megan Williams-Stewart.

The Ravens could have clinched a playoff spot by winning this week, but they blew it to the Steelers, meaning that they must win in Oakland next weekend to play in the postseason. The Redskins had no chance of making the playoffs, which left me with a dilemma: root for the despised Cowboys, or risk the NFC East going to the Eagles and Michael Vick. I just can't bear the thought of the Eagles winning, so I wasn't all that devastated to see the Redskins lose, though I wish they hadn't played such a horrible game, failing to score a single point. Next week I must actually root for the Cowboys to beat the Eagles, since the Giants blew it this week. Ick!

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