Thursday, November 10, 2011

Poem for Thursday and South Mountain In Autumn

I Too Was Loved By Daphne
By Judith Baumel

Daphne was known within these doors
And to these streets. Lovely her humor and lovely her smile
We tear our garments and sit on low boxes
Let's see who can sing the best story.

I will praise as best I can
Taking my turn to raise our Daphne up
Among the stars, Daphne shall be high
Among the stars; I too was loved by Daphne.

Morning coffee bitter and milky with gossip.
Our mothers still offering worried apposite
Instructions. We'd gather the awful scraps
At the kitchen table and smooth them flat.

Why do I care that she was still beautiful
Yesterday in this last photo—Daphne's pearly skin
And delicate frozen face tilting up between
Her boy and girl, between her next-to-last and last breath.

One autumn hayride into the apple picking orchard
We locked shoulders, bowed our heads in talk, then heard
Calling, weeping in the dappling light. Left behind,
Our little boys were searching for us hand in hand.

Who was there when Daphne's hands stopped
Closing? Where was fate when Daphne's tongue
Thickened and set in her mouth. Or the breezes
When Daphne's muscles no longer moved her lungs?

Mornings on the Palisade greenway, the path
A jumble of undergrowth and branches and glass,
We walked and talked and thought, but it wasn't true,
That my life was closing down and hers was blazing anew.


The weather on Wednesday was just as gorgeous as on Tuesday and I got quite a bit of outdoor time, which was very nice. I had an early dentist appointment which went as well as those things ever do (no cavities, no old fillings that must be replaced ASAP, no lecture about not flossing enough), and I was in a relatively good mood because despite having had a migraine the day before, the election results from Mississippi, Iowa, Ohio, Arizona, and various other states -- mine didn't vote -- were much more promising than I was expecting. If the global economy wasn't mid-collapse, I might even feel hopeful.

I had lunch at a Greek restaurant with my mother, a friend of my mother's since before I was born, and the daughter of the friend, whom I've also known nearly my entire life though her brother was the one who was my year in school. It was lovely, both the food (I had grape leaves and spanakopita) and the company, and afterward we did a bit of shop-browsing in the outdoor strip mall, where I ran into someone I haven't seen since high school. Adam had disappeared when I got home -- turned out he was at a friend's house and the friend made him dinner -- so the cats kept me company until Paul came home and made ratatouille pie which was yummy. Then we watched Harry's Law, which was quite good (very Boston Legal) and a special on string theory.

A pair of calves kiss -- or lick milk off each other's mouths -- at South Mountain Creamery last weekend.

Piglets sleep in a snuggly pile under a heat lamp in the calf barn while their mother eats.

The farm had colorful fall flowers in bloom, too.

The Reno Monument -- commemorating Union Major General Jesse Reno of the Ninth Army Corps, who fell at the summit of Fox's Gap during the Battle of South Mountain -- is just down the road.

The Washington Monument constructed by the citizens of Boonsboro stands on South Mountain itself.

In the fall, many ladybugs line the staircase to the top. (This fall there were thankfully far fewer stinkbugs than last year.)

The path to the summit of South Mountain joins the Appalachian Trail.

Late afternoon sun made taking photos at Gathland State Park problematic, but you can tell how gorgeous the trees were.

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