Reading Jack Gilbert while watering the eggplants

Some mornings are impossibly beautiful, before the heat comes, before the dew on the sweet clover dries. I’ve just come in from beginning the watering and am trying to identify the strange bird call I heard, a long whine, not a towhee, but something like it. I paused by the eggplants on the upper deck and saw how the young fruit are forming under the broad leaves, how the purple flowers are open to the bees which rise from them, heavy with pollen. A new rose, “Night Owl”, is blooming in large winey clusters smelling of cloves. I’ve been thinking of the austere poems of Jack Gilbert, the care with which he addresses the things he loves.

The hand holding him slipped and he fell.

“White stone in the white sunlight,” he said

as they picked him up. “Not the great fires

built on the edge of the world.” His voice grew

fainter as they carried him away. “Both the melody

and the symphony. The imperfect dancing

in the beautiful dance. The dance most of all.”

–from “Ovid in Tears”