Sunday, January 24, 2021
Sunday, January 17, 2021
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
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
"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.