By James Lasdun
I’m talking to you old man.
Listen to me as you step inside this garden
to fill a breakfast bowl with blueberries
ripened on the bushes I’m planting now,
twenty years back from where you’re standing.
It’s strictly a long-term project—first year
pull off the blossoms before they open,
second year let them flower, watch the bees
bobbing in every bonnet,
but don’t touch the fruit till year three,
and then only sample a handful or two . . .
Old man I’m doing this for you!
You know what they say about blueberries:
blood-cleansing, mood-lifting memory-boosters;
every bush a little fountain of youth
sparkling with flavonoids, anthocyanin . . .
I’ve spent all summer clearing brush
sawing locust poles for the frames,
digging in mounds of pine needles, bales of peat moss—
I thought I’d do it while I still could.
You can do something for me in turn:
think about the things an old man should;
things I’ve shied away from, last things.
Care about them only don’t care too
(you’ll know better than I do what I mean
or what I couldn’t say, but meant).
Reconcile, forgive, repent,
but don’t go soft on me; keep the faith,
our infidels’ implicit vow:
“not the hereafter but the here and now . . . ”
Weigh your heart against the feather of truth
as the Egyptians did, and purge its sin,
but for your own sake, not your soul’s.
And since the only certain
eternity’s the one that stretches backward,
look for it here inside this garden:
Blueray, Bluecrop, Bluetta, Hardy Blue;
little fat droplets of transubstantiate sky,
each in its yeast-misted wineskin, chilled in dew.
This was your labor, these are the fruits thereof.
Fill up your bowl old man and bring them in.
Tonight my excuse for running late is that Adam's friend Daniel Wigle just stopped by, whom he's known since elementary school (if you've been reading this journal all that time, you've seen photos of the two of them collecting caterpillars and playing soccer and doing plays and going to prom and graduating from high school). So the two of them are out somewhere and I was too distracted by the return of Orphan Black earlier to worry about blogging! We also watched Doctor Who, which started off amusingly then turned into derivative monster movie fare, and Graham Norton -- where was Gal Gadot?
Earlier in the day, Adam went kayaking while I did a bunch of organizational things on my main computer where all my photos are stored since my back actually felt okay enough to sit in a chair for an entire half hour before I needed to go take a walk around the neighborhood. When Adam got home, we had lunch and went to Homestead Farm to pick blueberries, which involved a hayride to the orchard and a trip back past the goats and chickens. We had Indian food for dinner and I did a bunch of organizing/sorting/putting away Renfaire clothing for which I had much feline help until the help (all three cats) fell asleep on the bed!