Thursday, September 18, 2014

On Blushing


I knew a girl who blushed and everything – compliments, kissing, winning and losing, laughing at a joke. She had a determined blush and bashful blush. She stayed flushed after a workout. Her blush could mean anything and everything but how to tell what? And like anything ever-present, it meant little. And like anything ever-present, it meant a lot.

Poetry gives us the best answers for the mundane and the all-important. This Keats poem is both of those things. I was delighted last night to find it in an anthology. He's so serious most of the time and I like him better for having read it.

Sharing Eve's Apple - John Keats

O blush not so! O blush not so! 
Or I shall think you knowing; 
And if you smile the blushing while, 
Then maidenheads are going. 

There's a blush for want, and a blush for shan't, 
And a blush for having done it; 
There's a blush for thought, and a blush for nought, 
And a blush for just begun it. 

O sigh not so! O sigh not so! 
For it sounds of Eve's sweet pippin; 
By these loosen'd lips you have tasted the pips 
And fought in an amorous nipping. 

Will you play once more at nice-cut-core, 
For it only will last our youth out, 
And we have the prime of the kissing time, 
We have not one sweet tooth out. 

There's a sigh for aye, and a sigh for nay, 
And a sigh for "I can't bear it!" 
O what can be done, shall we stay or run? 
O cut the sweet apple and share it!


Monday, September 15, 2014

The Loves of Achilles

In the twilight of antiquity, an obscure grammarian copied down a few lines of a Sophocles play, The Loves of Achilles. Time and the chaos of the Middle Ages swept away manuscripts and most of Sophocles was lost. But one fragment was saved. The line is often quoted, notably in Tom Stoppard's The Invention of Love, as love is like ice in the hands of children. The full line is below. It's all we have of something beautiful. It's enough.

When ice appears out of doors, and boys seize it up while it is solid, at first they experience new pleasures. But in the end their pride will not agree to let it go, but their acquisition is not good for them if it stays in their hands. In the same way an identical desire drives lovers to act and not to act.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Crooked Still: Friends of the Fall

This is in my head as the last swelter of summer gives way to chill at night and leaftips suggest the first blush of fall color. Mornings, the lake is a lift of fog shot through with sunlight. Evenings, wood smoke rises over the neighborhood. And through it all, a heady feeling of stepping fully into life.

It'll end too soon, if it ends at all..