Vase. 3:40 PM, Laurel Lake, NH. July, 2015.
And I still cannot shake off what happened in the Eurozone and what has been done in Greece. [Against the backdrop of friends and wished-for-friends passing away in recent weeks.] Don’t the reapers understand that they are shaping their own cutting? Are the lessons of death and disenfranchisement so easily forgotten? When I die, I want to be remembered for the things I did not do well, or correctly, or where I harmed others. A far better legacy to pass on to my children I think, than one of simply excelling against a backdrop of white.
And Norman MacCaig again…
You read the old Irish poet and complain
I do not offer you impossible things –
Gloves of bees’ fur, cap of the wren’s wings,
Goblets so clear light falls on them like a stain.
I make you the harder offer of all I can,
The good and ill that make of me this man.
I need no fancy to mark you as beautiful,
If you are beautiful. All I know is what
Darkens and brightens the sad waste of my thought
Is what makes me your wild, truth-telling fool
Who will not spoil your power by adding one
Vainglorious image to all we’ve said and done.
Flowers need no fantasy, stones need no dream;
And you are flower, and stone. And I compel
Myself to be no more than possible,
Offering nothing that might one day seem
A measure of your failure to be true
To the greedy vanity that disfigures you.
A cloak of the finest silk in Scotland – what
Has that to do with troubled nights and days
Of anguished happiness? I had no praise
Even of your kindness, that was not bought
At such a price this bankrupt self is all
I have to give. And is that possible?
Norman MacCaig (1956)