We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Saturday, April 5. 2008
Home Burial (1914)
He saw her from the bottom of the stairs
(the rest of the poem is below)
Her fingers moved the latch for all reply.
“My words are nearly always an offense.
I don’t know how to speak of anything
So as to please you. But I might be taught
I should suppose. I can’t say I see how,
A man must partly give up being a man
With womenfolk. We could have some arrangement
By which I’d bind myself to keep hands off
Anything special you’re a-mind to name.
Though I don’t like such things ‘twixt those that love.
Two that don’t love can’t live together without them.
But two that do can’t live together with them.”
She moved the latch a little. “Don’t---don’t go.
Don’t carry it to someone else this time.
Tell me about it if it’s something human.
Let me into your grief. I’m not so much
Unlike other folks as your standing there
Apart would make me out. Give me my chance.
I do think, though, you overdo it a little.
What was it brought you up to think it the thing
To take your mother-loss of a first child
So inconsolably---in the face of love.
You’d think his memory might be satisfied-----”
“There you go sneering now!”
“I’m not, I’m not!
You make me angry. I’ll come down to you.
God, what a woman! And it’s come to this,
A man can’t speak of his own child that’s dead.”
“You can’t because you don’t know how to speak.
If you had any feelings, you that dug
With your own hand---how could you?---his little grave;
I saw you from that very window there,
Making the gravel leap and leap in air,
Leap up, like that, like that, and land so lightly
And roll back down the mound beside the hole.
I thought, Who is that man? I didn’t know you.
And I crept down the stairs and up the stairs
To look again, and still your spade kept lifting.
Then you came in. I heard your rumbling voice
Out in the kitchen, and I don’t know why,
But I went near to see with my own eyes.
You could sit there with the stains on your shoes
Of the fresh earth from your own baby’s grave
And talk about your everyday concerns.
You had stood the spade up against the wall
Outside there in the entry, for I saw it.”
“I shall laugh the worst laugh I ever laughed.
I’m cursed. God, if I don’t believe I’m cursed.”
“I can repeat the very words you were saying:
‘Three foggy mornings and one rainy day
Will rot the best birch fence a man can build.’
Think of it, talk like that at such a time!
What had how long it takes a birch to rot
To do with what was in the darkened parlour?
You couldn’t care! The nearest friends can go
With anyone to death, comes so far short
They might as well not try to go at all.
No, from the time when one is sick to death,
One is alone, and he dies more alone.
Friends make pretense of following to the grave,
But before one is in it, their minds are turned
And making the best of their way back to life
And living people, and things they understand.
But the world’s evil. I won’t have grief so
If I can change it. Oh, I won’t, I won’t!”
“There, you have said it all and you feel better.
You won’t go now. You’re crying. Close the door.
The heart’s gone out of it: why keep it up?
Amyl There’s someone coming down the road!”
“You---oh, you think the talk is all. I must go---
Somewhere out of this house. How can I make you-----”
“If---you---do!” She was opening the door wider.
“Where do you mean to go? First tell me that.
I’ll follow and bring you back by force. I will!---”
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
there's a little rat running loose in their marriage, and each of them thinks he or she can't catch it but the other could if only he or she would.
buddy--you are good!
Thanks for Lasca--never heard it before--it is a nice connection. I enjoy good "cowboy" poetry and this is a particularly nice piece. However, it was written by an english kid, who had only spent about 2 years down in your part of the woods. Wikipedia says it was during his teen years in the late mid 80's--the truly great days of TX--must have been wonderful!
Lordy -- can you imagine it -- only a hundred years ago in the American West were these highly complex stone-age cultures, whose painted & feathered people were riding free across this vasty land from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean Sea.
Knew you'd like Lasca -- it is writ all over ya -- lots of us around who somehow accidentally managed to get themselves borned a hunert years too late for that big wild never-again show, The American Wild West.
I remember driving on HWY 66 in the early 1950's you could still see Navajo and Hopi in their wagons, hearding sheep in vast--never ending for miles and miles--horizons. It was nothing to go 200 miles before the next sign of civilization. They were still wearing velvet,silver, and turquoise. One man on horseback women driving wagon, and kids taggin along--all of them pushin (pullin?) sheep. At that time hwy 66 was two lanes of road-- one either direction. Then it was expanded to four. I was lucky--I got to see a fleeting glimpse of the real thing.
how weird -- just last night i was taking some junk out to a shed and just perchance --to see how they were holding up--reached up into an old box of old paperback books from college days--the one i hauled out for inspection was by chance "The Book of the Hopi" by Frank Waters. The book dates from the early 60s (until last night i hadn't laid eyes on it since probably the early 70s), and contains many then-current photos showing Hopi people who just as you say look no different from how they must've looked a hundred years ago. wonder wazzup with them theses days -- doubt seriously if the old ways still obtain. wretched modernism, it's an ongoing tableau of parricide. oh well -- the kids in the pictures look tiny and malnourished -- no bed of roses i'm sure.