Sonnet 24, E.B.B.

— 24 —

Let the world’s sharpness, like a clasping knife,

Shut in upon itself and do no harm

In this close hand of Love, now soft and warm,

And let us hear no sound of human strife

After the click of the shutting.    Life to life–

I lean upon thee, Dear, without alarm,

And feel as safe as guarded by a charm

Against the stab of worldlings, who if rife

Are weak to injure.    Very whitely still

The lilies of our lives may reassure

Their blossoms from their roots, accessible

Alone to heavenly dews that drop not fewer,

Growing straight, out of man’s reach, on the hill.

God only, who made us rich, can make us poor.

–from Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

American Persimmon

We found the tree last year while the fruit was still green, and watched them ripen slowly into late autumn. You know they’re ripe when they fall off the tree, at which point they are fair game for anyone (or animal) interested, so it’s difficult to gather enough for more than a taste.  But aren’t they beautiful?

Two Shadows

I’m up with my baby at 3 am. Nothing traumatic, just Up. He’s awake, and someone had to be with him.

I’m darn well going to have a snack when I’m up in the middle of the night, so we’re in the kitchen, one dim light on, the one above the oven. Emmett’s on the floor facing away from it, entranced by the weird double shadow cast by the two bulbs. They’ve turned his little self into a two-headed monster–the lights each casting their own dull overlapping shadows–and where they cross there is a darker, sort of pinheaded representation of his head and shoulders. He is pawing at it as it wobbles back and forth.

His attention doesn’t keep forever, and he’s on to scooting around the floor and darting glances around the dark kitchen, which he knows well in daylight but is now a realm of mystery.

I love watching this fascination with things we adults regard very little, if we notice them. Two shadows crossing in a dimly-lit room. Sunlight coming through leaves and reflecting on walls. The wonder of a spray of fountain in the park. The really cool sound a dishwasher makes.

I imagine babies are all pretty keen observers. They need to be–how else are they going to learn the things no adult will think to show or tell them? We are their protectors, but they are filling their own little eyes and ears with a world of beauty, patterns of light, shapes of leaves, colors of sky and neighborhood, sounds of voice and heartbeat and song. All we can do is try to put them in the right places.

He seems tired of the kitchen, so I pick him up. “Bo,” he says.

I agree.

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