Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Poem for Tuesday and Star Gazing Farm

Men Working on Wings
By Stanley Plumly

In dreams they were everything hurt
whose faces were always coming into focus
like a feeling never before realized
offered now as longing; but not spiritual,
like the cloud in marble or the flaws
in sunlight streaking through the window,
but palpable, the way that cloud,
those flaws take on the human.
If I have to choose I choose those nights
I sat in the dark in the Mote Park
outfield waiting with my father
for the long fly balls that fell more
rarely than the stars. We'd talk
or he'd hit the hole in his glove;
a hundred times he'd hit the hole
in his glove. In his factory wool-
and-cotton gray uniform he looked
like a soldier too young to fight,
like his sailor brother and our monkey
uncle doughboy Harry who'd been gassed
in the trenches—too young to fight.
But nobody died. Once, on the Ponte
S. Angelo, leading from the Castle
of Angels across a wrist of the Tiber,
I watched the artisans of the working
classes work with the patience of repairmen
on the backs of the immortelles. Except
for their hands they sat the wings
in stillness, hammer and chisel, like
any other sculptors; the job endless,
infinitesimal, a constancy of detail,
the air itself the enemy, and the long
gold light pouring down. The big flat
dead leaves of the sycamores would whirl
around them in a theme, then drift
like paper to a river. The leaves
might float, in another life, all the way
to the sea, spotted and brown like the backs
of the hands of the old. The wings
of the angels were stone clouds stained,
pocked like a bird's. My father didn't want
to die, nor my uncles, in their fifties,
nor dull Jack Bruning, who'd have welded
wings to his back to get another day
of drinking, and who claimed that
in the war he'd eaten a man's flesh.
At one another's funerals they were
inconsolable: they would draw from
the scabbard, with its lime-green rust,
a sword against their deaths; in their
flawed hearts they would stand fast:
as on the bridge, with half-closed eyes
and mouths about to speak, the ten
Bernini angels, in their cold and heavy robes,
and wings unfurled with the weight of men,
were in alignment yet reluctant to cross.


Daniel had his first behind-the-wheel driving lesson bright and early this morning. He was not awake enough to be nervous. I was slightly nervous, but the teacher seemed very together (gave us a sheet with information about the state driving test that isn't on the MVA web site or in the book) and Daniel ended up in a good mood -- he knew the car spec stuff backwards and forwards, though obviously he needs more road driving experience. I took both kids to Bagel City to get lunch, then Adam was going to go running at the track with a friend, but a big thunderstorm hit and we had rain on and off for several hours while older son was in the driver's ed classroom in the afternoon.

It was a quiet afternoon -- I started the weekly laundry, listened to Adam's long list of complaints about the county health curriculum, worked on my ongoing efforts to save my LiveJournal photos until LiveJournal became too erratic for it to be worthwhile, took a walk and saw one of the neighborhood bunnies twitching its nose in a front yard with another neighbor's dog just down the sidewalk. I absolutely adored this week's Warehouse 13, not just the fabulous Pete/Myka "we did not" hysteria but Rene Auberjonois and Lindsay Wagner too (and even though it says Aaron Ashmore is a guest star, he's been around the whole season so far, yay). Now Colbert has my side literally in stitches from laughing so hard at his Summer's Eve parody, so here are some more Star Gazing Farm photos from Saturday:

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