Thursday, March 22, 2012

This is Just to Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

William Carlos Williams

I love William Carlos Williams. I think his adage 'no ideas but in things' taught me the most I know about writing. Be specific. Observe. Notice the small things.

I also like plums.

Yesterday I cooked some plums, and had them cold with home-made yoghurt and custard.

They were quite sour, but very delicious.

The best plum jam I've ever made wasn't very pretty, as the pale, mottled skins didn't colour the mix, so the jam was a muddy yellow. But it tasted delicious - which shows that you can't just go by appearances alone.
I've been looking for plums like those ever since, and failed to find them.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Why I like men

I have trouble concentrating on reading novels lately - too much going on in my life and head.

And even music I don't sit down and listen to much any more. But listening in the car is good.

Yesterday when coming back from the coast we put on The National's High Violet, and it was exactly what I needed to listen to. Melodic, unemphatic, almost diffident music at times, very thoughtful and reflective and full of emotion. It's kind of muted, yet strong. And I thought, as the car went up the hill at St Helena, just past Byron Bay, how nice it is that men make music like this. And how much I like (some) men.

Which led me to think of Edith Speers' poem, 'Why I Like Men'.

Why I Like Men

mainly i like men because they're different
they're the opposite sex
no matter how much you pretend they're ordinary
human beings you don't really believe it

they have a whole different language and geography
so they're almost as good
as a trip overseas when life gets dull
and you start looking for a thrill

next i like men because they're all so different
one from the other
and unpredictable so you can never really know
what will happen from
looks alone

like anyone else i have my own taste with regard
to size and shape and colour
but the kind of style that has nothing to do
with money can make you bet
on an outsider

lastly i guess i like men because they are the other
half of the human race
and you've got to start somewhere
learning to live and let live
with strangers

maybe it's because if you can leave your options open
ready to consider love
with such an out and out foreigner
it makes other people seem
so much easier

Edith Speers (b 1949)

From The Penguin Book of Australian Women Poets, ed Susan Hampton & Kate Llewellyn

Friday, March 2, 2012

One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant 
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied.  It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Elizabeth Bishop