I was awakened from a dream,
a dream entwined with cats,
by a cat’s close presence.
In the darkness by my bedside there
had loomed a form with shining hair—
squarish, immense-eyed, still.
Its whiskers pricked my lips:
My daughter cried,
in just proportion terrified.
I realized that,
though only four, all skin and smiles,
my daughter is a lioness, taken as a cat.
"Daughter" by John Updike, from Collected Poems: 1953-1993. © Alfred A. Knopf, 1993.
from The Writer’s Almanac on http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2013/12/17
posted by Hatty
Posted By Emily-
Today I bought a kewpie baby sans mayonnaise at the pop up shop on Broadway that has been pedaling tasteful Japanese paraphernalia in a non-oriental yet inevitably token way.
I named her Pachinko for how her rubber Aryan tummy waggled as postwar milieus do in my picturing.
A decade of neon cluttercornfed Spam, lucky strikes and Uncle Sam, now old veins in family histories hailing from Meiji genealogies.
Dislocation though denies the gash in the opening of another lapse. It’s a matter of issei to nissei and sansei and so forth until old oddities come to broker nostalgia for notional homes.
We are all longing to reconstitute—
—Awash in iterations inflected with flecks of intersection
rubbing shoulders with specters of imposition.
I drink my beaming sense of ethnicity out of blue bottles.
I guzzle pasteurized milk like mother’s milk.
I leer like Wayne, bound feet to street bound
foundering in all directions of agenda,
lagging and lapsing
towards a malformed mottled coherence,
What do we gain when we institutionalize? And of course, what do we lose? Does being paid for art give us freedom to concentrate whole heartedly on said art or does it shackle us further to diverging interests? Can something similar be said for activism as a job v. a labor of love?
So quickly to have lost the summertime
Sends me home heartsick. Up the bank I climb
Trampling the hidden mint. I pause, and then
One breath of mint evokes all summer again.
You groping poets, blinded by too much
Of sea and sky, of taste and smell and touch,
Come out some night of tears and feel with me
How subtly mint assuages misery.
For mint by day is little more than grass
Tempting the causal cattle as they pass;
But mint by night is like the Holy Ghost,
Making its nearness known when needed most.
All redolent with promises of bright
Eternal summers to come is mint by night.
Come out and tramp with me some field untrod
When mint is like the very breath of God.
Summer must go and darkness come and death,
But night is heavy with God’s very breath.
I will remember mint when frost comes on
And boughs are leafless and the last bird gone.
posted by Hatty
Mint by Night by Alfred Barrett from Strand Bookstore on the corner of East 12th Street, New York City
I picked it up without much thought, last November during my post-election vaca. Sidewalk booksales is a dangerous thing.
It’s the first poem in the book and also the title. The rest quickly becomes a little less aromatic than the opening—Father Barrett likes to write almost exclusively about the life of Jesuit priests and their candlelit rituals.
But this feels fresh at the cusp of fall, I’m not ready to let summer go. Flickering in my mind are the images of blue, ocean and night sky, clear and brilliant from July glory. Happy first day of autumn everyone.