“February, when the days of winter seem endless and no amount of wistful recollecting can bring back any air of summer.” ~ Shirley Jackson

 

                 

“beyond myself, somewhere, i wait for my arrival.” ~ Octavio Paz

It’s 78 degrees today. Spring is weeks away. This month is insane.*

In honor of the last day of the longest month of the year for me, I’m posting one of my favorite Linda Pastan poems, “Agoraphobia.” Seems appropriate somehow.

                   

Agoraphobia

“Yesterday the bird of night did sit,
Even at noon-day, upon the marketplace,
Hooting and shrieking.” ~ William Shakespeare


1.

Imagine waking
to a scene of snow so new   
not even memories
of other snow
can mar its silken
surface. What other innocence   
is quite like this,
and who can blame me
for refusing
to violate such whiteness
with the booted cruelty
of tracks?
 
2.
 
Though I cannot leave this house,   
I have memorized the view
from every window—
23 framed landscapes, containing   
each nuance of weather and light.   
And I know the measure
of every room, not as a prisoner   
pacing a cell
but as the embryo knows
the walls of the womb, free
to swim as its body tells it, to nudge   
the softly fleshed walls,
dreading only the moment
of contraction when it will be forced   
into the gaudy world.
 
3.
 
Sometimes I travel as far
as the last stone
of the path, but
every step,
as in the children’s story,
pricks that tender place
on the bottom of the foot,
and like an ebbing tide with all
the obsession of the moon behind it,   
I am dragged back.
 
4.
 
I have noticed in windy fall
how leaves are torn from the trees,   
each leaf waving goodbye to the oak   
or the poplar that housed it;
how the moon, pinned
to the very center of the window,
is like a moth wanting only to break in.   
What I mean is this house
follows all the laws of lintel and ridgepole,   
obeys the commandments of broom   
and of needle, custom and grace.
It is not fear that holds me here but passion   
and the uncrossable moat of moonlight   
outside the bolted doors.
 
Music by Lizz Wright, “Hit the Ground”
 
 
*For a good description of the panic disorder agoraphobia, click on this Mayo Clinic link.

“It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

                   

“The essential things are seen,
not with the eyes but with the heart.” ~ Antoine St. Exupery

A more perfect visual depiction of how my Sunday is going couldn’t possibly exist.

More tomorrow, I hope. Peace.

Tout simplement parce que

                   

Sharing this just because I found it interesting, more interesting than anything that I have to say today . . .

French words and phrases with no direct English translation

Dépaysement: The sensation of being in another country. 

La douleur exquise: The heart-wrenching pain of wanting someone you can’t have. Even a Sex in the City episode was named after it!

Chômer: To be unemployed, but because it’s a verb, it makes the state active.

Profiter: To make the most of or take advantage of.

Flâneur: As defined in the book Elegant Wits and Grand Horizontals, it’s “the deliberately aimless pedestrian, unencumbered by any obligation or sense of urgency, who, being French and therefore frugal, wastes nothing, including his time which he spends with the leisurely discrimination of a gourmet, savoring the multiple flavors of his city.”

Esprit d’escalier: The literal translation is staircase wit, but it means to think of a comeback when it’s too late.

Retrouvailles: The happiness of meeting again after a long time.

Sortable: An adjective for someone you can take anywhere without being embarrassed.

Voila/voici: It’s so necessary that we use it all the time. “Voila” literally means “there it is” and “voici means “here it is.”

Empêchement: An unexpected last-minute change of plans. A great excuse without having to be specific