Wednesday, June 15

Hearts

This is a quote from Samuel Selvon's The Lonely Londoners. It's a short novel about a group of young men from various Caribbean islands living in London in the 1950s. Here is described how Moses, the main character, has been in London for 10 years, has nothing to show for it and is always planning to leave. But there's something about London that keeps him from taking off.

"Every year he vowing to go back to Trinidad, but after the winter gone and the birds sing and all the trees begin to put on leaves again, and flowers come and now and then the old sun shining, is as if life start all over again, as if it still have time, as if it still have another chance. I will wait until after the summer, the summer does really be hearts."

There's a lot of that in North Dakota, too. It's so lovely here in the summer: green, breezy, everyone's always outside, always having a fire in their back yard. You spend the whole winter (and it is a long winter) thinking about finally getting out and never coming back, but then the spring comes and it's sort of exciting. The river's flooding, the snow's melting, you're wearing a light jacket (even though it's 40 degrees in April, but you've been so numb all winter that anything above freezing is nearly tropical) and there's a tingling. The blood is returning to your extremities, and there's promise. This is it: this is going to be The Best Summer North Dakota ever saw. And then, early fall, that's when you'll leave.

It's always the last summer.

Living
by Denise Levertov

The fire in leaf and grass
so green it seems
each summer the last summer.

The wind blowing, the leaves
shivering in the sun,
each day the last day.

A red salamander
so cold and so
easy to catch, dreamily

moves his delicate feet
and long tail. I hold
my hand open for him to go.

Each minute the last minute.

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