by Carl Dennis
Now's a good time, before the night comes on,
To praise the loyalty of the vase of flowers
Gracing the parlor table, and the bowl of oranges,
And the book with freckled pages resting on the tablecloth.
To remark how these items aren't conspiring
To pack their bags and move to a place
Where stillness appears to more advantage.
No plan for a heaven above, beyond, or within,
Whose ever-blooming bushes are rustling
In a sea breeze at this very moment.
These things are focusing all their attention
On holding fast as time washes around them.
The flowers in the vase won't come again.
The page of the book beside it, the edge turned down,
Will never be read again for the first time.
The light from the window's angled.
The sun's moving on. That's why the people
Who live in the house are missing.
They're all outside enjoying the light that's left them.
Lucky for them to find when they return
These silent things just as they were.
Night's coming on and they haven't been frightened off.
They haven't once dreamed of going anywhere.
Maybe that's why we, Rob and I, continue to be drawn to still life, the way it holds fast, silent, the way it focusses our attention.
Of course, that's where this blog started, thinking about still life, calm things....
All along, we've been the ones who haven't dreamed of going anywhere, leaving, we've been the ones holding fast, to this place we live in. Many of our friends have left, are spread far and wide. Soon our daughter will be thinking of leaving here, too - she's about to turn sixteen and has been talking about going away to college or university when she graduates in two years. Lately, we've been thinking about contingency plans. Imagining where we could go and live cheaply and quietly. I don't know that this is an answer to anything, but it does calm the nerves a little.
I keep coming back to the kitchen table. Don't we all?
Tea and a store bought cake:
Puff pastry, asparagus, herbed goat cheese:
Red pepper cheese sauce on penne: