“There are a few moments in your life when you are truly and completely happy, and you remember to give thanks. Even as it happens you are nostalgic for the moment, you are tucking it away in your scrapbook.” ~ David Benioff, from When the Nines Roll Over and Other Stories

Andrew Wyeth Army Blanket 1957
“Army Blanket” (1957, watercolor on paper laid down on board)
by Andrew Wyeth

                   

Happy Birthday Joyce!

This kind of reminds me of your mother’s old farm house . . .

Music by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young (I had to replace the first video because it didn’t work. Sorry)

“summer’s blood was in it” ~ Seamus Heaney, from “Blackberry-Picking”

Update: Seamus Heaney died on August 30 in Dublin, Ireland (1939-2013)

Andrew Wyeth Blackberry Picker 1943 tempera on masonite
“Blackberry Picker” (1943, tempera on masonite)
by Andrew Wyeth

                   

Two for Tuesday: Irish poets and blackberries . . .

Blackberry-Picking

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn’t fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.

~ Seamus Heaney

                   

Blackberry Eating

I love to go out in late September
among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries
to eat blackberries for breakfast,
the stalks very prickly, a penalty
they earn for knowing the black art
of blackberry-making; and as I stand among them
lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries
fall almost unbidden to my tongue,
as words sometimes do, certain peculiar words
like strengths or squinched,
many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps,
which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well
in the silent, startled, icy, black language
of blackberry—eating in late September.

~ Galway Kinnell

                   

Music by Ryan O’Shaughnessy, “No Name”

“I felt like crying but nothing came out. It was just a sort of sad sickness, sick sad, when you can’t feel any worse. I think you know it. I think everybody knows it now and then. But I think I have known it pretty often, too often.” ~ Charles Bukowski

“Love in the Afternoon,” by Andrew Wyeth
(1992, tempera on panel)*


 

That this particular Wyeth is one of my all-time favorite paintings says a lot about me, but what exactly, I don’t know.

Music by Five for Fighting, “World”

                   

So Now?

the words have come and gone,
I sit ill.
the phone rings, the cats sleep.
Linda vacuums.
I am waiting to live,
waiting to die.
I wish I could ring in some bravery.
it’s a lousy fix
but the tree outside doesn’t know:
I watch it moving with the wind
in the late afternoon sun.
there’s nothing to declare here,
just a waiting.
each faces it alone.
Oh, I was once young,
Oh, I was once unbelievably
young!

~ Charles Bukowski