Sabtu, 31 Januari 2009

Perfection Wasted

Garrison Keillor just read Updike's poem, "Perfection Wasted," on PHC. Of course, it's the perfect selection. My friend Julie Stivers beat him to it, though. She posted it earlier this week, and so I have had fine reminders of it twice in one week.

Perfection Wasted

And another regrettable thing about death
is the ceasing of your own brand of magic,
which took a whole life to develop and market--
the quips, the witticisms, the slant
adjusted to a few, these loved ones nearest
the stage, their soft faces blanched
in the footlight glow, their laughter close to tears,

their tears confused with their diamond earrings,
their warm pooled breath in and out with your heartbeat,

their response and your performance twinned.
The jokes over the phone. The memories packed
in the rapid access file. The whole act.
Who will do it again? That's it: no one;
imitators and descendants aren't the same.

--John Updike

Rabu, 28 Januari 2009


I worked beside these today. So many love the tight buds of early blossoms, but I love the spent, and the nearly spent, just as much.

Selasa, 27 Januari 2009

John Updike

John Updike
March 18, 1932 - January 27, 2009

Just checking news, a bit randomly, which I don't tend to do online. I wait for the morning paper, and I listen to the radio, and I do not, generally, do either at 11:30 p.m. I stumbled on Updike's obituary just now and felt some sorrow, maybe more so because of the unexpected fashion in which I discovered the announcement.

Selasa, 20 Januari 2009

William Kurelek

A few year's ago I discovered William Kurelek's A Prairie Boy's Summer at the library. Then I discovered A Prairie Boy's Winter. We now have our own copy of the "summer" book, and this morning I ordered the "winter" book. In February, we're going to Ottawa to skate the Rideau Canal. I just learned that the National Gallery of Canada (in Ottawa) has some of Kurelek's work. I am excited to see it.


More beauty today, and some of it is just in sunlit corners of the house.

Jumat, 16 Januari 2009


It is cold, yes, but it is also beautiful. Sunshine and icicles are a fine combination, but moonshine and icicles are brilliant. The other night the house was dark and I walked upstairs in that darkness and reached the top and looked up and out the window near the landing and there was the moon, and there was a collection of icicles glistening in the moonlight. This was just before I went to bed, which is when monsters are most active, and I looked at the icicles and thought, "Fangs. Magnificent fangs." And so I went to bed thinking of monsters and fangs but I slept very well and the dreams I dreamed were concocted of good things. This morning I got up and the house was dark and I walked down the hallway and paused at the window near the top of the stairs and looked out at the icicles and thought, "Teeth! Long, pointy, brittle teeth!" And I came downstairs and got my keys and went to the dentist. I am back from the dentist and the sun is shining on our neighbors' icicles and I can't seem to stop staring at them. They do not look like fangs. They are beautiful and surreal and they make me glad, so very glad, to be a creature of winter.

Jumat, 02 Januari 2009

Northern Shoveler

Do you see the similarities? The green head...


Oh! I've been away for 11 days. It began with a drive. It was not a long drive. The drive was even an adventure. My car made horrible metal-on-metal sounds. I pulled off and decided I shouldn't drive. Then I did drive. I made it to the place I wanted to be and called Subaru. Subaru sent a flat bed trailer to pick up my car. My car went away and I stayed. That was fine. I didn't need a car. I had ice. It was great ice! For three days. And three nights. Night skating! Oh! After three days and three nights of shoveling and skating and shoveling and skating and skating and skating and skating and shoveling and skating, we got rain. It all turned to soup. But it was pretty soup. Who needs a car when you have ice skates and Bean boots? I did, eventually, and it is back now, and I am back now.