— From CB —
or years, more than fifty years, fifty-four
we went to an exhibit of Camille Corot
landscapes, portraits, landscapes,
some allegorical stuff, and landscapes
if I recall correctly, being back so far and
so many puzzle pieces gone.
We walked together
and I would lead us on to the next
then fall back to see your golden hair
reflected in his skies.
Then, I preferred dramatic paintings
the writhing of Delacroix, seductions of Klimt
Grosz’ bellies, the screams of Munch, but old
Corot was in Chicago, possibly never again
and you were there in spring.
We started counting the cows. No sooner
it seemed, that Corot had set up his easel
before a country landscape
but it would fill with cows.
(In his full oeuvre, not so many
but this curator favored cows.)
Had he expected them? Rented them?
Their pasture? or interlopers
in this languid afternoon?
Cows in twos and threes, cows blatant
cows coyly veiled by brush yet
standing to be counted by two
young lovers laughing at cows.
Fixed in linseed amber
framed by lion sentinels at the gates
the cows had no defense
except to stand and chew and chew
long after the lovers
entangled in laughter
had gone gray.
— From the Fool —
Other news that happened besides gay marriage and health insurance and shooting people:
* They caught some guys that escaped.
* There’s a picture of an actor kissing a woman.
* A guy whose kids sent him a bad Father’s Day note is mad.
* A celebrity took off her clothes and said she’s insecure.
* More people exploded.
* A family with 19 kids went off TV.
* Somebody lost a hundred pounds.
* A guy on the news said something dumb.
* A teacher had sex in Cuba, but she wasn’t supposed to.
* A candidate claimed he’s the best.
* CNN spotted a terrorist flag with dildos on it.
* It’s hot next week.
And I got the flu or something like that. Maybe if I said maybe it’s ebola I could get on the news, a lot easier than having 19 kids or exploding or having sex in Cuba, but I’m not up to it right now, so I just lay here and try to think of something funny to say about the flu, but I don’t know what.
Next week I’ll read last week’s news and feel happy we survived it.
— From EF —
After a long, stumbly, stuttering approach, I am finally back in loving touch with my garden. The obsessive Lear preparation blanketed all of my normal off-season prep, and then my dismay at seeing how gawd-awful things had become plunged me into a site-specific depression. And it’s so hard, when you’re down in the basement, to consent to the first steps up.
But my garlic harvest, which I left in the ground a little too long, is still providing glory to the kitchen. (I’m leaving it for an extra-long time to cure.) My weird favorite tomatoes, Polish Linguisa, were thriving way too well in their three-step planting ritual: small pot, pinch off all lower leaves, bury deep, let develop, repot in medium container after pinching more leaves and burying deep, move to extra-big pot after pinching off more leaves and burying deeper.
It was time to put them in the ground, and then I discovered that my gopher wire had failed, and if I put them in their bed, they’d be destroyed. It took a major gig to get safe ground prepared, and by then they were huge. It took skilled obstetrical work from the team of CB/EF to get them out of their pots without breaking the stems and bedded into their new homes, but now they’re starting to look happy.
So today I was mostly watering and weeding, and putting new starts into the “salad bowl.” And suddenly, here are two huge tiger swallowtails doing their courtship dance. My friends, these are very big gorgeous butterflies, and it was clear that they were doing erotic ritual. I stopped everything and just watched.
I can’t help thinking that they sensed my up-rushing of love and delight, because in the midst of their dance with each other, they came over and brushed my head, my shoulders, my face, sat briefly on my feet, and stayed with me for a long time as they courted each other. I wept with joy.
And then they went around the corner of the building, out of sight, and at whatever point felt right, consummated.
And the rest of my day was transformed.
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© Bishop & Fuller 2015
Elizabeth, your writing is breathtakingly good. Thanks for the butterflies, and your garden. I feel consummated. Love to whoever has the flu, especially the Fool in all of us.
“* A guy whose kids sent him a bad Father’s Day note is mad. ” I really must look this one up…..
Conrad, what a beautiful poem. As always, your blog inspires, and exhausts me. You two manage to keep your energy and creativity soaring in both the mundane of gardening and your ethereal theater. I’ve never had a particular interest in role models, but YOU are it.
Thanks so much.