Midnight was come, and every vital thing
With sweet sound sleep their weary limbs did rest,
The beasts were still, the little birds that sing,
Now sweetly slept beside their mother's breast,
The old and all well shrouded in their nest;
The waters calm, the cruel seas did cease,
The woods, the fields, and all things held their peace.
The golden stars were whirl'd amid their race,
And on the earth did with their twinkling light,
When each thing nestled in his resting place,
Forget day's pain with pleasure of the night;
The hare had not the greedy hounds in sight,
The fearful deer of death stood not in doubt,
The partridge dreamt not of the falcon's foot.
from: The Complaint of |Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness” — Mary Oliver
Now, moving in, cartons on the floor, the radio playing to bare walls, picture hooks left stranded in the unsoiled squares where paintings were, and something reminding us this is like all other moving days; finding the dirty ends of someone else's life, hair fallen in the sink, a peach pit, and burned-out matches in the corner; things not preserved, yet never swept away like fragments of disturbing dreams we stumble on all day. . . in ordering our lives, we will discard them, scrub clean the floorboards of this our home lest refuse from the lives we did not lead become, in some strange, frightening way, our own. And we have plans that will not tolerate our fears-- a year laid out like rooms in a new house--the dusty wine glasses rinsed off, the vases filled, and bookshelves sagging with heavy winter books. Seeing the room always as it will be, we are content to dust and wait. We will return here from the dark and silent streets, arms full of books and food, anxious as we always are in winter, and looking for the Good Life we have made.
I see myself then: tense, solemn, in high-heeled shoes that pinch, not basking in the light of goals fulfilled, but looking back to now and seeing a lazy, sunburned, sandaled girl in a bare room, full of promise and feeling envious.
Now we plan, postponing, pushing our lives forward into the future--as if, when the room contains us and all our treasured junk we will have filled whatever gap it is that makes us wander, discontented from ourselves.
The room will not change: a rug, or armchair, or new coat of paint won't make much difference; our eyes are fickle but we remain the same beneath our suntans, pale, frightened, dreaming ourselves backward and forward in time, dreaming our dreaming selves.