gall and gumption

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Alan Stephens 1925-2009

50. Night-Piece

Lying in the long dark, insomniac,
I see it clearly, sea and beach and air
And a red winter sun, down low, for fire
For the fourth element made out by the Greek
On Sicily's coast two dozen centuries back--
Fire that'll turn me into atmosphere
After I'm dead, and ashes tossed out where
Maybe they'll wash ashore. I hear gulls creak,
And put my being in with the elements
We share with the whole show, rather than
With the odd creature in it that is man
Or with my self, still odder . . . till the tense
Weavings of wakefulness begin to fray
Loosen and come apart and float away--

from In Plain Air

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The News and the Weather

Last night I was baking hot, too hot to sleep, and I was sure it was some sort of catastrophic possibly hormone-related response to my 1) having eaten too much at dinner or 2) the general going-to-hellishness of life which is the way everything looks when you can't sleep but that doesn't mean it's not true. I learned this morning, from a casual conversation about the weather with a coworker, that no, it was that hot for everyone else in the area too, temperatures near 80 all night. Yep. There's some comfort to that: I suppose I'll wake up one night and it will be global warming or nuclear or tsunami armageddon, fireballs falling out of the sky, huge volcanoes heaving their shoulders out of the sea and spewing up great clouds of dust and boiled sea creatures etc., dogs and cats lying down together, plagues of locusts and rains of frogs and I will conclude that it is somehow all my fault and no better than I deserve out of life.