Sunday, January 24, 2021

Talking to Myself Fifty-Nine

Talking to Myself Fifty-Nine January 24, 2021 Once I held a songfest with a blue grosbeak at six in the morning. I sang, “Where are you?” and he sang, “I’m over here.” “I see you,” I’d call, and he’d reply, “I see you, too,” then fly away before my eyes with his mate. We were at the dam, No one else around. Now he is my screen-saver. I meet him every morning when I wake at three, four, five. His head and body are bright blue, his wings black, white, gold, even red. Imagine a bird singing to me. Out of the wide universe, a little bird. He doesn’t care if I forget what I’ve just said or lost an order I forgot to finish. All the limits of old age are upon me, one after the other. But people help me, and my spirits are generally good. I forgive myself and other people, too. No point in holding grudges. Best to have a clear conscience, achieve what I can, and then let go. I escaped our plague and get my shot tomorrow. Hallelujah, ***************************************************

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Talking to Myself Fifty-Eight

Early Spring Garden several years ago.

Talking to Myself Fifty-Eight January 17, 2021

The woods are full of gun-shots

on a Saturday afternoon. Two helpers

come to clear the garden for planting.

They bring dry wood treated to start

fires. I give them a loaf of bread and

some frozen collards. Tim goes out

to help them. The local Trump

supporters still have their signs out.

Most of us are Democrats, with a

few exceptions. We watched the attack

on the Capitol building. We hear

they’ve put up a fence around it, and 

National Guard troops brought in

to defend it and our elected president.

Where is our peacefulness? Where

is our living, breathing democracy?

Why are they shooting in the woods?

The first shipment of seeds is here.

Sugar Ann Sugar Snap peas, Early

Wonder beets, General Lee Slicing

cukes, Cajun Jewel okra, and Gold

Metal Mix zinnias, Sensation Mix

Cosmos. A brave man and a brave

woman will travel to the capitol

in three days to be inaugurated. We

Americans elected them. Why now

are we afraid for their lives

and our own?


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Talking to Myself Fifty-Seven

The village post office.


Talking to Myself Fifty-Seven January 10, 2021

I live in a democracy, which some

discount, including our president.

We want him gone. He still has

ten days, but how much damage

can he do? Too much, we fear. 

The one we want is waiting in the

wings, waiting his turn. He was

elected. Some cried that our votes

didn’t count. So many absentee

votes made a difference. It was

the lawless crowd we worried

about. No respect for other people,

no respect for our democratic

traditions. An old man in the

post office leered at me, came 

close. “How you doin’, honey.”

I kept going. I had packages 

to mail. This was not the Capitol

building in D.C. This was in the

village post office. When I’d

mailed my packages, he was

gone. The signs said to stand

six feet apart. He was not even

one foot from me. Gone when

I came out, yet, in reality,

how far away?


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Talking to Myself Fifty-Six

"First Snow" by Nikolai Smirnov. A Kostroma Region village farmhouse.

Talking to Myself Fifty-Six January 3, 2021

All around me: photos and paintings,

and a Finnish poster. My loved ones

take up wall space. I’ve been in this

room most of the time in most of last

year, staying safe from the virus that

kills. The poster over my desk is of

glacier-cut Finnish islands, a jigsaw

of forests in an impossibly blue sea

over my desk where reside printer,

fax, and scanner, and my Bach records.

To the right the wall holds Rumyantsev

forests, an abandoned village against

a golden fall. To the left, Nikolai Smirnov’s

roads, his mother’s village and her

small figure. Also Lyuba’s image of

her sister Vera emerging from the

forest like a modern Demeter. Then

that sister’s painting of the Krukov

Canal. Above the computer table, 

the face of Esenin--such sad eyes.. He

was forced to kill himself, his last

poem written in blood. Beside him

Vera’s flowers, and below Nikolai’s

rendering of the Kostroma city

center, and still lower, the Ipatievsky

Monastery from across the Kostroma

River. Behind the computer on a 

shelf, the Virgin’s Annunciation by

Lyuba, and my twin grandchildren,

and my friend Jaki and me. The back

wall has a long one of a village field

of dandelions, the coming of spring

with cranes flying. I thought it was

fall before I had my cataract surgery.

Aleksei’s forests and Nadya’s pink

landscapes, the ruins of Goncharov’s

home, and the enlarged flower by Doc

Ellen–all above the chest freezer where

I store my bread flours and keep all 

my published books on top, and 

a photo of me in my father’s arms

at age two. The back door holds old

Christmas cards, and the wall beside

it, two paintings by Roman Smirnov

of water and trees. Behind me, Smirnov’s 

village farmhouse, the Golden Autumn

giving way to the First Snow. Farther away

my son Tim’s memories of New Mexico,

and Julia’s colors, which I chose that go with

Tim’s. Also, from a magazine, Botticelli’s

 Arrival of Spring after Winter’s Deadlock.

May it arrive soon.