Friday, June 13, 2003

The Age of Innocence
S. Beck

Today I finished Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence.
And what I can't quite get,
I have to say,
is why that Age was innocent.

Was it because in that Age
they thought that money could bring you happiness,
and we know that nothing can?

S. Beck

It is time to be realistic,
says Mrs. Blair
the old gray lady.
So I will try to be realistic.

It is time be realistic
and recognize
that all you ever give are words.
Words are all you have to offer.
And so I should take your words
at the highest valuation.

It is time to be realistic
and recognize
that all I have is blood.
My blood is all I have to offer
so you give me your words
and I will pour out my blood.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Phone Call
S. Beck

She called me at noon.
She was angry that I hadn't called her
to make sure that she
and my children
hadn't been killed
by a bomb.

But I had slept through the bomb
-- in any case --
was too far away
for me to hear it go off.

She told me she didn't hear it either.

Executive Suite

Yesterday I sent you a book.
It has everything I know about business.
Not so much, in other words.
But perhaps you will read it.
Or, even better will be so busy in your business
that you don't need to.

Songs of Mid-Summer
S. Beck

The Song of Mid-Summer

The dance has begun on the vernal lawn.
White feet beat in the flashing light
through the trees,
they heliograph to the rising sun,
"He who has found true love,
let him not sing, but dance."

But I sit in your bower,
your wicker cage of many blooms.

This lily I never plucked,
for then I did not know
where to grasp the stem.
And now I cannot gather flowers
neither lilies
nor roses
nor sweet-smelling daphne,
for all my jars are filled with
the smooth oil of the green olive
and my barns burst with sheaves of wheat.
The cattle low in the meadow,
calling me home.

And so I will part from your orchid-decked bower
without a lily in my hand,
but with this song of mid-summer
filling my heart.


I sing, for I am not a lily.
Never did I stretch toward your hand to be plucked.
(We sat on the hard bed
in the concrete tower,
and I straightened the loop on my skirt).

You, fool, cannot disturb the peace of my bower,
even so I will see you -- flashing eyes
in the golden wine that
I lift to the setting sun
as I drink my half glass
to what never was,
and could not have been
(except in your song of mid-summer).

Go back to your work
and do not dance,
I must rise early.

The snake

I was a green snake
as I wrapped myself around your leg.
Do I recall you?
Now in my burrow,
guarding my eggs,
all trees seem alike.

The pastry

You tried to eat me raw!
A long time til I forget that.
The only reason I can forgive your many cruelties
is that I know now
that some of them were unintended.

The corn

My red gold hair
flows down over my love's belly.
Long did I ride him, but now I sleep.
Do I dream of you?

The olive

What I have to say to you I will whisper slowly to my pillow
when you sleep beside me.

Sing, if you wish, of the lily, the snake, the pastry, the corn, and the olive,
for you are still young, and a fool.
But soon we will be old,

The raven

Yes I know that
I was the only one
ever truly loved.
And for a few moments
I loved that love.

But now my husband
and my daughter
are all of my past
that I choose to remember.

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