Monday, July 24, 2017


You hide yourself from me
In the bottom of a bowl of blackberries.
I want to spoon you out,
Cover you with my sugar.
You need the sunlight
But I can see you want the dark
And so I let you hide yourself from me
In the bottom of a bowl of blackberries.

I wrote that poem as a forlorn fifteen year old, waiting to be struck by love: a full-on assault by the sun and the moon and the stars. I waited at sixteen. Then seventeen. It was obviously, albeit romantic, what I now consider my Romeo and Juliet Era.

In Zeffirelli's beautiful film (still a top-five on my film list), as much as I lusted after Leonard Whiting (Romeo), I wanted even more to emulate Olivia Hussey (Juliet). My hair was dark and long, parted in the middle. Sometimes I'd put it back tightly, a braid down my back. I spent evenings in my billowing white cotton, medieval nightgown, memorizing lines from the film.

"Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day.
It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear.
Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree.
Believe me, love, it was the nightingale."
       "It was the lark, the herald of the morn,
       No nightingale. Look, love, what envious streaks
       Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east.
       Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day
       Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.
       I must be gone and live, or stay and die."
 My mother bought me two Juliet dresses; both had the defining puffy sleeves, the tight Empire waistline, and a bust which was cut as low as I could get away with the night I wore one when my father took us to Mario's for a fancy sixteenth birthday dinner.  

This was about the same year I was introduced by an English teacher, to the poems of ee cummings. From a favorite, the title long forgotten, my starry eyes formed images of two aging adults curling up together at bedtime, the husband not feeling well. The last line was, as I recall, "The medicine was in her long, un-braided hair." 

I was already in love with love, but that was when I fell in love with words. Right then.

A few years later and married, all innocence lost, I would enter my Big Chill Era. It would be many more years though, before my life took a turn, and I met my Romeo.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

                                                     i fear
no fate (for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

                                                                         ee cummings

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