Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Morning Thanks--a canoe on a still lake



This morning's Writer's Almanac features some sweet nostalgia, sure to make almost anyone regret no more being a kid.  It's all about passionate, first-love silliness, and in many ways, in terms of time, the opposite of a whole slew of old seduction poems from masters like Andrew Marvell and John Donne, who wanted to stop time rather than race to through it, wanted to turn time's winged chariot on a dime and send it racing off almost anywhere in the cosmos but over their love nests.  If you're almost fourteen, Mr. Soto says, it's not like that; what he remembers, at least, is wanting to rip off calendar pages--

Time with You

Gary Soto

We're thirteen, almost fourteen,
And so much in love

We want the years to pass--
Clouds roll at super speed, rains fall,

Flowers unfold and die at the snap
Of our fingers. I want to stuff sand

Through a fat hourglass,
And rip the pages from the calendar.

Let me blow candles from my cake.
Let my puppy stretch to full size.

Even if you weren't head-over-heels sometime as a kid, the images alone are worth the price of admission, don't you think?--"I want to stuff sand/Through a fat hourglass." 

And here's the last and memorable couplet:

When we turn eighteen,
Time will become a canoe on a still lake.

Okay, maybe it's not Shakespeare--as in "Shall I compare thee."  After all, "a summer's day" is without a doubt a blessing (sorrowfully, we're in our last of them right now).  But then, who on earth couldn't love a canoe on a still lake?  There's nothing unseemly about that last image.  Time's slowed to a crawl, he seems to say, but that's not half-bad either.

All of which is to suggest, I reckon, nothing more than this--that the uncontainable teenage passion he'll never, ever forget, honestly and truly only gets better. 

That's right.  Read it again--that canoe on a still lake is nothing to sneeze at.   Time eventually slows into forever, which is to say it only gets better.

If this poem isn't Soto talking to his long-time lover, I'm Oscar Meyer.  "Time with You" is unsullied love poetry, first line to last--and maybe more like Donne and Marvell than first glance would have you think because Mr. Soto--I don't know him--is, years later, still sweet-talking, still in seductive mode.  He's wanting love, even though he's got it, even as he's braying about it.  He's as hungry as he was at fourteen, just a bit more thoughtful.

There's something to be said about being sixty too, because oaring a canoe on a still lake isn't half bad. 

I don't know--I just like it.  The poem that is. 

But then, being love isn't half bad either, in or out of that canoe.

This morning's thanks is for a poem that put me on a still lake in a canoe, even though I was already there. 

8 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

One could also call this love "Biophilia", the "love of life or living things." Teenagers just get a glimpse of biophilia. Old guys can really experience and understand it. This is not a commercial for some link, just a thought . Thanks again for this mornings dream.

Anonymous said...

SO the S & P has downgraded the nations credit rating to AA......the 1st time in history we have been downgraded. AND, B.O. says the analysis is flawed. I wonder WHO is flawed!?!??!?

Anonymous said...

Does anybody out there understand what is going on??? We are in debt up to our ears and nobody seems to care one bit. We cannot afford all these programs the dems want to keep running like we have a tree orchard growing money like no tomorrow. WE ARE KILLING THIS COUNTRY over night. Please LORD, come quickly.

Anonymous said...

Now we know why the U.S. is never mentioned in Bible prophesy. We are done. The beginning of the END as we know it.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I'm tired of the prez and dem's cryiny that the 'RICH' need to pay more taxes. According to the IRA (2010)the RICH paid far more than their fare share. The top 5% of individual income tax payers contributed over 58% of tax receipts. TO put this in clearer perspective, the top 50% of tax payers accounted for 97% of all income tax revenue. With the bottom 50% paying a mere 3%. Meanwhile, all 100% of us share equally in government services ranging from national defense, fire and police protection and countless other government programs we all take for granted. I'm just curious to know what the president's definition of "fair share" is. BTW, the RICH are leaving the country (and, yes, they can afford it) so who will be left to pay for all these expenditures.

Anonymous said...

Just more high paid commercials? Is Sueland really that rich?

Jeffy said...

it's a beautiful poem thank you