It is the longest day of the year in my part of the world. Summer solstice. That means that, after today, the planet starts tilting toward winter, and we start losing daylight. Pretty soon, the leaves are going to turn shades of mustard and cherry. And then, one morning, frost on the pumpkins. Shortly after that, white. For months and months. (Sorry, I had to go there. It's the poet in me.)
It is also Father's Day. For my international readers, today in the United States we honor the patriarchs in our lives. That means lots of barbecuing. Hot dogs and bratwursts and hamburgers. Potato salads. And lots of bad ties and Old Spice given as presents. For me, it's a day where I sit around and try to do absolutely nothing. After I'm done with this post, I'm going to sit in a corner and read a book. That's Father's Day.
Today's episode for Classic Saint Marty first aired three years ago, on a summer solstice when my life was in a state of chaos. Not like today, when everything is absolutely perfect.
June 21, 2013: Poem, Elinor Benedict, "Sudden Calm at Maywood Shores"
I have a poem for you tonight that calms my agitated mind. I'm weary
after this week of upheaval. Tired. Ready for bed. Yet, my mind
doesn't want to rest. It keeps going when my eyes close at night. I've
been waking up every morning more tired, as if I've spent the night
running with a herd of elk through the Rockies.
Elinor Benedict's sonnet "Sudden Calm at Maywood Shores," from her collection Late News from the Wilderness, slows me down. Gives me peace. That's why I want to give it to you tonight. To give you peace.
Saint Marty wishes you a quiet, restful first night of summer.
Sudden Calm at Maywood Shores
For seven days the wind has plowed the waves
in restless rows across the moving field
of Little Bay de Noc. While maples yield
their yellow leaves, my boundary oak still saves
its multitude of warriors' leathery hands
until they twist and threaten in the wracking
air that blows the lake to earth, attacking
grass with wars of acorns across the lands
I live to watch.
These days of agitation
shake the universe beneath my hill
and make me fear this landscape never will
be calm again. And yet--my habitation
feels just now a blanketing of grace
uncanny in its fall from no known place.
Confessions of Saint Marty