A large bumble bee has been noisily jackhammering the west-facing window glass near me, can’t seem to find his/her way out through an open door not three feet away. Is he/she stupid, or what? I’m tired. I’m working. The beauty of the scenery stops me in my tracks wherever I turn.
A 90-year-old red-headed relative died near San Diego, California two days ago. I was quite fond of her. I hadn’t seen her in a long while. I remember singing California, Here I Come over and over with her in New York, in my mother’s backyard, when I was about five. Each time we sang the lines, So open up your gold-en gates... we’d both spread our arms and hands wide. In her memory, the song done by Al Jolson in 1924. Also, Ray Charles. (Click links above. Note: I’m being cryptic since I’ve been asked by another relative not to write about this person just yet, and will do as asked.)
Amanda Divine, whom I hadn’t seen in a million years, sister of my poet friend, Rick Vick, former resident of Hydra, died in Stroud, England three days ago. I remember beautiful Amanda (who seemed to float across the scenery) visiting Hydra accompanied by her corkscrew-haired daughter Fern, who once hit me on the head with a rock when her mother and I had a converstion that went on a bit too long. At the time Amanda wore long colorful skirts, frilled blouses. She could have starred in a cinematic adaptation of a Jean Rhys novella. Another poet friend, Kevin McGrath (who teaches Sanskrit and Indian Studies at Harvard, also a lover of Greece and things Greek) has dedicated his poem –
– in memory of Amanda Divine –
THERE is a door to the river that no one can know
Where breaking through light we enter the world
Stone threshold of love where we pass from illusion
Crossing the floor in a long endless current
There ships by themselves move through the hours
And trees bear fruit throughout the years
Where children play on avenues shining
As the universe stands staring quietly at life
We are subdued by the rind of sorrow
The sweetness of being runs away all the time
Speechless till sprinkled with blood at our birth
Men and women ordained to sleep apart
We are touched by hands that reach from the sky
Enter our heart for the joy we must hide
So turning we see there was no river
Nor was there life just one beautiful door
The little neighbor girl in the house below mine has a cough. When she is not at school she coughs at least once
That night something happened to me on the mountain. The weight of the rice coupled with the awful cough which I had to try and repress broke something in me. It was not physical; it was simply that part of my spirit went out of me, and in the whole of my life since that night it has never been the same again.
Kits, cats, coughs, deaths and lives, how many are going to St. Ives?