Saturday, September 6, 2008
Autumn Landscape with Tossed Hair
I wanted a grey day, the beggar said, one with huntsmen lurking in the bracken, willowy girls in wet dresses skipping through the bogs, ginger cats slipping down silken copses to dispatch voles and snakes and buckets brimming with mist-ripened plums.
I remember the cries of the blackbirds, the poet mused, in the heat of the afternoon, swirling over the burning cornstalks, black liquid spirals tracing otherworlds beneath blue clouds gleaming, disappearing into the ravine, into imminent twilight, where brown armies of scurrying ants and black covens of twitching cicadas converge, oblivious, waiting in the whispering dark for dew.
I wanted the smoldering brush, the husband said, the winnowing baskets and wagons piled with pumpkins and leeks, the last sheaf of grain held high by the harvest queen, lips like wineskins plump and red, copper bracelet flashing like green fire.
I know the old ones scythed and hacked these fields, the wife insisted, scraping wheat and barley for winter stores, salting the meat of blood moon-slaughtered cattle for Yule's feasts, blessing the horses with cups of cider, rolling russets into the bins and hoarding twists of sugar between candle boxes.
A frightful day in the dull countryside is what I wanted, the child said, one that should end as it begins, with tinkling lamps, our skin scented with sour sweat, hot chocolate, by the fire with cheese and bread, songs sung in my head at sunrise, offered as blessings from travelers at midnight, sending us off to sleep with melodies, memories, circling like crows at dusk, hawks of morning.
We go to Safeways now, but it still tastes like magic if we walk 'round the garden three times before supper.
planted by Peg at 7:44 PM