Under the Waterfall
By Thomas Hardy
"Whenever I plunge my arm, like this,
In a basin of water, I never miss
The sweet sharp sense of a fugitive day
Fetched back from the thickening shroud of grey.
Hence the only prime
And real love-rhyme
That I know by heart
And that leaves no smart,
Is the purl of a little valley fall
About three spans wide and two spans tall
Over a table of solid rock
And into a scoop of the self-same block;
The purl of a runlet that never ceases
In stir of kingdoms, in wars, in peaces;
With a hollow, boiling voice it speaks
And has spoken since hills were turfless peaks."
"And why gives this the only prime
Idea to you of a real love-rhyme?
And why does plunging your arm in a bowl
Full of spring water, bring throbs to your soul?"
"Well, under the fall, in a crease of the stone,
Though where precisely none ever has known,
Jammed darkly, nothing to show how prized,
And by now with its smoothness opalised,
Is a drinking-glass:
For, down that pass,
My love and I
Walked under a sky
Of blue with a leaf-wove awning of green,
In the burn of August, to paint the scene,
And we placed our basket of fruit and wine
By the runlet's rim, where we sat to dine;
And when we had drunk from the glass together,
Arched by the oak-copse from the weather,
I held the vessel to rinse in the fall,
Where it slipped, and sank, and was past recall,
Though we stooped and plumbed the little abyss
With long bared arms. There the glass still is.
And, as said, if I thrust my arm below
Cold water in basin or bowl, a throe
From the past awakens a sense of that time,
And the glass we used, and the cascade's rhyme.
The basin seems the pool, and its edge
The hard smooth face of the brook-side ledge,
And the leafy pattern of china-ware
The hanging plants that were bathing there.
"By night, by day, when it shines or lours,
There lies intact that chalice of ours,
And its presence adds to the rhyme of love
Persistently sung by the fall above.
No lip has touched it since his and mine
In turn therefrom sipped lovers' wine."
Laurie was in town with her family, so on Wednesday I got together with her and her son as well as my friend Alice and her son (they're both into Pokemon and Smash tournaments, so they get along great) for lunch at Metro 29 Diner in Arlington, then a walk at Great Falls Park in Virginia. It was quite hot, especially after having been in Seattle, but the river was pretty, there were herons, cormorants, and turkey vultures, and we left the diner before Croatia beat England and much wailing apparently ensued.
Traffic coming home to get Paul was horrific and it took me an hour, after which we opted not to go back out and meet the others for dinner but ate frozen chick'n nuggets. In the evening we did some post-travel chores and caught up on The Handmaid's Tale from two weeks ago (when did Bradley Whitford turn so evil? Still haven't seen the season finale, do not spoil me) and The 100 (dragging a bit with the wild changes in alliance but maybe it was the lack of Kabby that made me feel that way).