Here and now will not matter in a hundred years
Nobody knows the place,--
Agony, that enacted there,
Motionless as peace.
Weeds triumphant ranged,
Strangers strolled and spelled
At the lone orthography
Of the elder dead.
Winds of summer fields
Recollect the way,--
Instinct picking up the key
Dropped by memory.
I hung out with him twice, once in a bar in the midwest (a recovering alcoholic, he drank O’Doul’s with gusto), and the other time at a literary festival in a small town in Italy. Both times I was struck by what a dude he was. Cooler than almost anyone I’ve ever met. As cool as Chili Palmer, Raylan Givens, Ernest Stickley Jr or Vincent Mora – to name just a few of the laconic badasses who took centre stage at one time or another in his novels. The books were like the man – wry and observant, contemptuous of navel-gazing.
Here is my review of Mr. Paradise. And here's a piece I wrote about him: Crime paid this writer, in dollars and honors.
"Tightly-folded bud." This is the first line of Philip Larkin's "Born Yesterday," which was written in January of 1954 "for Sally Amis" (Kingsley Amis' daughter) to celebrate her birth. I thought of the line each afternoon this past week as I walked past the low-hanging branches of trees that are now in bud.
As I write this, two lines by Larkin from "The Trees" (that lovely poem of spring) come to mind:
"The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said."
Everything changes. Every thing changes. Nothing changes.
Some ask the world
and are diminished
in the receiving
of it. You gave me
only this small pool
that the more I drink
from, the more overflows
me with sourceless light.
R. S. Thomas, Experimenting with an Amen (Macmillan 1986).
Thousands of buds at the tips of twigs, yet each in its own singularity: delicate and full of intent. "Tightly-folded bud." A flower of leaf. Mostly shades of green, though often streaked, speckled, or swirled with browns or yellows or reds. Suspended beneath the sky, precarious. But lucent, potent with life. And, from all around, the singing of robins