Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy July

Named after Julius Caesar -- but you knew that.

Hope the weather is drying you out, warming you up or getting you a party. Black Music Month, Queer History Month and Gemini season has moved on. Now it's time for hot fun in the summer time, for real though...

What's up with the Supreme Court these days? Hard to read whether there "with us or against us." Us, being the Constitution upholders, btw.

I looked around for a July poem and you *know* what I got-- nine million 4th of July celebratory poems. Since we already have so many opportunities to hear the rockets' red glare, as well as some bombs and other ammo these days, I thought a different tack might be in order:

Fishing on the Susquehanna in July
by Billy Collins

I have never been fishing on the Susquehanna
or on any river for that matter
to be perfectly honest.

Not in July or any month
have I had the pleasure--if it is a pleasure--
of fishing on the Susquehanna.

I am more likely to be found
in a quiet room like this one--
a painting of a woman on the wall,

a bowl of tangerines on the table--
trying to manufacture the sensation
of fishing on the Susquehanna.

There is little doubt
that others have been fishing
on the Susquehanna

rowing upstream in a wooden boat,
sliding the oars under the water
then raising them to drip in the light.

But the nearest I have ever come to
fishing on the Susquehanna
was one afternoon in a museum in Philadelphia

when I balanced a little egg of time
in front of a painting
in which that river curled around a bend

under a blue cloud-ruffled sky,
dense trees along the banks,
and a fellow with a red bandanna

sitting in a small, green
flat-bottom boat
holding the thin whip of a pole.

That is something I am unlikely
ever to do, I remember
saying to myself and the person next to me.

Then I blinked and moved on
to other American scenes
of haystacks, water whitening over rocks,

even one of a brown hare
who seemed so wired with alertness
I imagined him springing right out of the frame.

-- Now don't tell me that your only association with Susquehana is that Abbott and Costello sketch. Shame on ya! But there's something about this poem that feels particularly urban. In the big city, we're always romanticizing the country but can't quite get to it. Do the best that you can this weekend!


aliscia said...

Greets to the webmaster of this wonderful site. Keep working. Thank you.

Tracie said...

a belated thanks. I didn't even think anyone would write back! Keep lookin' -- please!

again thx, t