Tiny towns and crossings on the west side of the river: Amity, Hopewell, Eola. Lincoln. Zena. Bethel. On this side: St. Louis, Brooks, Mt. Angel, Bethany.
Churches. Barns. Cemeteries. Oaks, firs, winding roads that give way to gravel. Smoke from fireplaces and stoves. Deer. Wild blackberries.
When was the last time I wanted something I didn’t really need? It must be the forthcoming Richard Wilbur translations of Molière. And the time before that? Books again? It’s been long enough that I don’t remember. But what else could it be? I eat only what I need. I no longer wear socks or shoes. My entire wardrobe hangs in a space two feet wide. Even the books, I buy in mind of younger readers in the family. I buy them for someone, anyone, against a time when buying books is no longer possible, or out of the question. It’s like planting something that will go on living long after I’m gone. If they aren’t burned by an ignorant mob, others will enjoy them. Others will benefit, each in their way, each in their turn. It should also be said that many of my unneeded books ended up being needed after all. Maybe that’s one reason I’m a reader and book-buyer, and not part of an ignorant mob. Maybe that’s why I am peacefully ignorant, flagless, partyless, countryless, surrounded by shelves.
December 6, 2021
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Categories: New Poems & Pieces
Tags: Amity, Barns, Bethany, Bethel, Blackberries, Books, Brooks, Cemeteries, Churches, Deer, Diaries, Eola, Good Fortune, Gratitude, Hopewell, Identity, Ignorance, Journals, Learning, Library of America, Lincoln, Mobs, Molière, Mt. Angel, Reading, Richard Wilbur, Smoke, Wants and Needs, Zena