Friday, May 04, 2012

Eastside Works and Days

Eastside Road, May 4, 2012—
A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO, on waking up in a friend's little guest cottage in a quiet back garden in Berkeley, a heroic couplet came to me in a flash:
Already in my shorts, I rise
To verify the morning skies…
and before long I'd added another ten lines, just for the hell of it. Then I mostly forgot about it until Christmas that year — 1998 — when, feeling sentimental and perhaps a little old, I thought I'd add verses to it, to make a little garland of doggerel for the grandchildren.

There were seven of them in those days, and we had just moved from Berkeley to Eastside Road the previous year, and were settling into a quiet life of gardening and reading and writing, the life I'd always thought would set in in our seventh decade. I suppose in writing them I was rubbing my eyes in wonder at our good fortune. I still do: it's a pleasant life. Not unmarked by little disappointments and losses, of course, but nothing, so far, we aren't able to deal with. I hope I'm not tempting the fates here. Fates, I praise you; please don't think me complacent!

If you're curious to find out what happens after the verification of the morning skies, you can read the entire garland of Eastside Works and Days here. You can even print it out, double-sided, and make a little booklet.

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