our village (35)

“Good morning, Ms. Marquetta, and how are you this fine day?” He always says that, I’ve told you. And I was determined to be nicer today – in fact, I had intentionally gone outside to greet him when I saw him walking around his yard, poking in the dirt. Come to think of it, he reminded me of one of those robins, although he’s an old man and he doesn’t move like those young birds, but I braced myself for his cheery greeting, and I decided I wouldn’t be all doom and gloom, let the maggots give way to the flowers, know what I mean?

“Ms. Marquetta, if I may…may I share another poem with you this morning?”

“I’d be delighted, Mr. Bellis. Who is it today?”

“This is from the gentleman poet I believe I’ve shared with you before: Gerard Manley Hopkins (one of my favorites). Again, the poem is titled ‘Spring,’ yes, like yesterday’s, and, if I may, this poem…to me, the poem is just about how beautiful spring is. That’s all. Don’t even worry about the words, just listen to how beautiful it can be when spring returns:

“Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.”


This time, when he ended … or, he paused anyway, and he was looking at me. He looked sensitive, like he knew I hadn’t felt right yesterday, and I didn’t feel the need today to counteract his cheeriness with dreariness, but he was waiting for a response from me….

“Is that okay?” he asked cautiously. “May I share more poetry with you tomorrow?”

“It’s lovely, Mr. Bellis. Thank you.”

We watched the morning robins, out again, eyes ringed and gazing back at us in between their scratching and pecking at the thawed ground. I finally broke the silence:

“That blue he writes about, the blue and the blooms…”

“‘That blue is all in a rush / With richness…’” he recited.

“Yes, I like that.”

“I’ve got another one about that spring blue for tomorrow.”


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