Wednesday, November 25, 2015

November 25: Peaceful and Clean, Small and Big Blessings, Billy Collins, "Aimless Love," Off the Top of My Head

At around eleven that night, a predicted snowfall had come.  He and Annie looked out about midnight before pulling the plug on the tree lights and going to bed, and mutually agreed how peaceful and clean the streets of New York seemed in such weather.

Ives and Annie have spent an evening appreciating small things like Italian cold cuts and pastries, Spanish wine, bubbling Christmas ornaments, young people in love.  Now, as they prepare for bed, they stop at a window to appreciate one last thing:  snow falling on the street below, making everything soft and cold.

It is the end of the work week.  Tomorrow, I will sit down with my family and celebrate the American holiday of Thanksgiving.  For my international readers, that's a day where people in the United States are supposed to give thanks for the blessings in their lives.  The small and big blessings.  Mashed potatoes and good health.  Cranberry sauce and beautiful kids.

Tonight, I will be cooking.  My house will be filled with the smell of baking pecans and sugar.  Maybe I'll have a drink when the pies are in the oven.  Something root beerish that can knock you on your ass after a couple of sips.  My kids will be there, staying up a little later because they don't have school tomorrow.  Maybe we'll watch A Charlie Brown Christmas or Frosty the Snowman.  Then, when it gets late, and the pies are cooling on the front porch, we'll go to bed, and I will say a little prayer.  Give thanks for pecans and sugar, my son and daughter, Linus and Snoopy, my wife, my life.

It is going to be a good night, filled with gratitude.

And by the second hard root beer, Saint Marty will be wearing his candy corn hat and singing "Over the River and Through the Woods."

Aimless Love

by:  Billy Collins

This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.

In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor’s window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.

This is the best kind of love, I thought,
without recompense, without gifts,
or unkind words, without suspicion,
or silence on the telephone.

The love of the chestnut,
the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.

No lust, no slam of the door –
the love of the miniature orange tree,
the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,
the highway that cuts across Florida.

No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor –
just a twinge every now and then

for the wren who had built her nest
on a low branch overhanging the water
and for the dead mouse,
still dressed in its light brown suit.

But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.

After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,

so patient and soluble,
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.

Off the Top of My Head

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