June 5th, 2005

caillebotte_man at his window


By midnight, many of the stars had grown dim, or had vanished, and the moonless night sky had taken on the scumbled look it gets when masses of small clouds form. Later, as I sat at my desk, a gust of breeze rustled the mulberry leaves, and for a moment I thought that rain had begun to fall. But the breeze subsided, and the night returned to silence and remained dry. There was an occasional whiff of jasmine on the air, overpowered once by the odor of a skunk, fairly nearby. The skunk was not the only beast to pay a visit to the street. A bit later, the soft clop of hooves on asphalt informed me of the presence of deer. I slipped quietly out the door, and was rewarded with a glimpse of them, as one stag trespassed into a nearby front yard that is equipped with motion-sensing lights. I watched the small group slowly meander up the block, snacking along the way, leaving partly denuded rose bushes behind, until the lights went off and they vanished into the cool darkness.

I was hoping to post a fairly long piece for today's Sunday Verse, but the entry I made last night grew unexpectedly long, using up most of my free time. Today's selection must therefore be brief.

Sunday Verse

After Getting Drunk, Becoming Sober in the Night


Our party scattered at yellow dusk and I came home to bed;
I woke at midnight and went for a walk, leaning heavily on a friend.
As I lay on my pillow my vinous complexion, soothed by sleep, grew sober;
In front of the tower the ocean moon, accompanying the tide, had risen.
The swallows, about to return to the beams, went back to roost again;
The candle at my window, just going out, suddenly revived its light.
All the time till dawn came, still my thoughts were muddled;
And in my ears something sounded like the music of flutes and strings.

-translated by Arthur Waley


I know why almost everybody in this town goes to church on Sunday. There's not much else to do here. I guess I'm lucky that I slept through most of the day. But I think that the thermometer at the bank over on Clark Road must be broken. When I passed by on the way to the store about five o'clock, their sign said it was 81 degrees, but it didn't feel that warm. It was in fact quite pleasant this evening. It would have been a nice afternoon to go out and do something, if there had been something to do. It was beachy weather, and we have no beach. Eventually we will have a beach, if the coast continues to slide into the ocean, but that will take millions of years and I'll almost certainly be dead by the time the beach reaches this place. Anyway, it's to late to do anything now. It's getting dark, and the crickets have started chirping. I think I'll turn on the lawn sprinkler and pretend that the mist the breeze lifts from the spray is ocean spume.