Sunday, August 23, 2009

summer on the grass

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
-- Wallace Stevens (1879 - 1955)

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  1. "Pity" the guy whose mind leaps to the summer night's distinctive support of reading, and before this image's suggestion. Before, not in lieu of. Anyway that's how low my appreciation of Stevens' line is, because that's the part I feel to be very true. Summer has a pace for a close reading and an expansive feeling of capability at the same time. The fecundity of anything is most fulfilled in summer, and remembered longest thereafter. Look at the guy; isn't it true?

  2. The summers invoked here are probably those between age fifteen or so, and twenty-one or -two. I agree with Anonymous.

    When I was 15, my father turned to me that Summer and said, "Here, you haven't read enough Dickens," and handed me Oliver Twist. I had hot dogs with Oliver, I had sunburns with Oliver, I had mosquito bites with Oliver and I have loved Charles Dickens with a passion to this day.

    When I was 17, and could lurk about with my own motorcar, that Summer I gave myself a book called The Portrait of Dorian Gray. Gray seemed my age to me, although he wasn't; his friends were like friends to me, although they were not. That was my fault, not Wilde's, and a life of struggle to get that narrative right has shown me, time and again, what a friend its writer is.

    When I was 22, and had achieved that great baccaulaureate triumph which we presume must thrill the gods with its lustre - :) - I contracted to sit for the portraitist of Einstein, Mann, Oppenheimer and Bruno Walter, a phenomenally genteel German lady, drenched in Navajo silver and wielding only a handheld Rolleiflex and a single bounce flash. Why was my portrait for my parents not as imposing as that of the theorist of relativity, the genius of the unspoken, the engineer of the secret, and the eliciter of the divinest noises ever written down? She didn't explain, she had me home to dinner in her garden, where in a corner, erect in a white pergola, sat a lady reading Schiller with her bees. Her mother looked up, smiled, and extended her hand.

    Friedrich Schiller, in Summer, guys, a life imbued with love from the beginning. Just do it.


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