rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,


When I got home from shopping I went outside and sat on the back porch for a while. I'd been awake since early this morning, had just drained a lot of my energy with the shopping trip, and the evening heat was soporific. I kept nodding off. I would think "I need to go in and..." ((nod)). Then I would think "if I'm going to nap I should do it on the couch instead of a plastic chair sitting on concrete I might..." ((nod)). Then I would think "there are fresh donuts in the house, I should go in and get a donut before I... ((nod)).

That went on for the better part of an hour, and every time I snapped back awake my head would jerk, and I think I have partly undone my recent adjustment from the chiropractor. I finally woke up enough to return indoors and fire up the computer, so now I'm continuing the process... ((nod)) here. I might try playing some very loud YouTube videos. Maybe that will keep me awake. But most likely I will fall asleep watching television very early tonight. I guess I should eat something first. It will have to be something that won't come to harm, or harm me or the house, if I nod off while fixing it.

Thank goodness it's supposed to be about five degrees cooler tonight than it was last night, because last night was utter misery. And thank goodness it's supposed to be about ten degrees cooler tomorrow than it was today. Odds are I'll recover from the last couple of days and nights. But I'm not sure my neck will recover from all this... ((nod)).

Sunday Verse

R.I.P. Donald Hall (September 20, 1928 – June 23, 2018)

Maple Syrup

by Donald Hall

((Nod))August, goldenrod blowing. We walk
into the graveyard, to find
my grandfather’s grave. Ten years ago
I came here last, bringing
marigolds from the round garden
outside the kitchen.
I didn’t know you then.
                       We walk
among carved names that go with photographs
on top of the piano at the farm:
Keneston, Wells, Fowler, Batchelder, Buck.
We pause at the new grave
of Grace Fenton, my grandfather’s
sister. Last summer
we called on her at the nursing home,
eighty-seven, and nodding
in a blue housedress. We cannot find
my grandfather’s grave.
                       Back at the house
where no one lives, we potter
and explore the back chamber
where everything comes to rest: spinning wheels,
pretty boxes, quilts,
bottles, books, albums of postcards.
Then with a flashlight we descend
firm steps to the root cellar—black,
cobwebby, huge,
with dirt floors and fieldstone walls,
and above the walls, holding the hewn
sills of the house, enormous
granite foundation stones.
Past the empty bins
for squash, apples, carrots, and potatoes,
we discover the shelves for canning, a few
pale pints
of tomato left, and—what
is this?—syrup, maple syrup
in a quart jar, syrup
my grandfather made twenty-five
years ago
for the last time.
                   I remember
coming to the farm in March
in sugaring time, as a small boy.
He carried the pails of sap, sixteen-quart
buckets, dangling from each end
of a wooden yoke
that lay across his shoulders, and emptied them
into a vat in the saphouse
where fire burned day and night
for a week.
           Now the saphouse
tilts, nearly to the ground,
like someone exhausted
to the point of death, and next winter
when snow piles three feet thick
on the roofs of the cold farm,
the saphouse will shudder and slide
with the snow to the ground.
we take my grandfather’s last
quart of syrup
upstairs, holding it gingerly,
and we wash off twenty-five years
of dirt, and we pull
and pry the lid up, cutting the stiff,
dried rubber gasket, and dip our fingers
in, you and I both, and taste
the sweetness, you for the first time,
the sweetness preserved, of a dead man
in the kitchen he left
when his body slid
like anyone’s into the ground.

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