August 11: Morning Prelude

August 11, 2017

Outside, a chorus of birds,
not bobolinks, but yellow-rumped warblers,
and the cooing of mourning doves, mated for life.

Inside, a man I love in the shower,
the rush of water, low hum of his lather and scrub,
his unbird-like music.

What I hope for: A day green as new-minted
money. No harm to my children.
My friend’s illness not cancer.
The air clean and fresh as a man after a shower.

I make a plan: Ginger tea.
A lined tablet. Something in my head
gushing like a geyser.

Later: A reliable car.
A blue road.
A lodestar.

Beyond the road, on one side, sunflowers,
their faces baked brown and bonneted in yellow,
like children in costumes dancing in a field
buzzing with bumblebees.

On the other side, row after row of corn,
each stalk erect and watching the children.
The sky above blue and all around
the breathable air, fresh as soap.

Diane Lockward


August 11, 2017

I have grown down into feathers,
fat and waddling among willows.

My swimming is too busy; I watch,
learn to torque a neck, arch wings

in air. But with every paddle, swing
and glide, I am this self; swans fly

where there are no feathers,
trees, leaf or sky. I circle

the gate, construct fence posts,
hammer and beat them endlessly.

With every thought I intend a swan,
beg flight against the weight of stones.

Barbara Lee


August 11, 2017

Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea

Iris Murdoch
The sea the sea

full of harp-noises

August 11, 2017

They went in. Pine-needles are not easy to walk on, like a floor of red glass. It is not cool under them, a black scented life, full of ants, who work furiously and make no sound. Something ached in Carston, a regret for the cool brilliance of the wood they had left, the other side of the hills, on the edge of the sea. This one was full of harp-noises from a wind when there was none outside. He saw Picus ahead, a shadow shifting between trunk and trunk. Some kind of woodcraft he supposed, and said so to Felix who said sleepily: “Somebody’s blunt-faced bees, dipping under the thyme-spray”; a sentence which made things start living again. Would they never have enough of what they called life? There was no kind of track over the split vegetable grass. A place that made you wonder what sort of nothing went on there, year in year out.

Mary Butts
Armed with madness


August 11, 2017

At the end of his first week the weather turned cool, and we made a hot dinner. I dipped bread in egg, pushing it under to make it soggy. Freya took the eggshells and smashed them in her fists.

– “So witches can’t use them,”  she said, and winked at me.

Eleanor Wasserberg

11th August

The truth is she’s tired of men not treating her like the gift she believes she is. It’s a problem she wants to correct – starting now! She has dogs, a pair of Airedales raised from pups. Both are as neurotic as she; as vain as she, in my opinion. The dogs guard the only exit from this room.

Often her mind lays open like a drawer of lethal kitchen knives. She touches the blades one at a time. Her touch is that of a lover, lingering on cold steel. Who ever saw such grace? Such monstrous longing for blood? With such blades as these she could shrieve a soul from the pangs of hell.

‘I have something here,’ she says, smiling like one driven mad by desire. ‘Something I want to show you. Come look. You’ll never be the same again, I promise – ’