by Marianne Moore
Beauty and Beauty’s son and rosemary–
Venus and Love, her son, to speak plainly–
born of the sea supposedly
at Christmas each, in company,
braids a garland of festivity.
Not always rosemary–
since the flight to Egypt, blooming differently.
With lancelike leaf, green but silver underneath,
its flowers–white originally–
turned blue. The herb of memory,
imitating the blue robe of Mary,
is not too legendary
to flower both as symbol and as pungency.
Springing from stones beside the sea,
the height of Christ when thirty-three–
it feeds on dew and to the bee
“hath a dumb language”; is in reality
a kind of Christmas tree.
* * *
I did not know that rosemary prefers to grow near the sea, or that it is good for the memory, but my copy of Culpepper’s Color Herbal, which I found for free in a giveaway box on a sidewalk in Georgetown last spring, says both of rosemary. But could I have doubted Marianne Moore?
Today is overcast, damp, cool and blustery. The yards and streets are full of leaves being blown about. I tried to write something quite extensive and had to give up because it was taking a kind of energy that I do not have today. I copied and pasted what I had into another document and we’ll see what happens with that. It will have to wait for a day when I am not thinking so fondly of the concept of hibernation.
I also need to prepare our Third Room–a room which is still waffling in ambiguity as to what role it will ultimately play in our family life–for my dear old friend M and her two boys who are coming to visit this weekend. But I cannot seem to get moving on that either. I am trusting it will get done before she arrives tomorrow afternoon. The energy always seems to start flowing in these situations, if only in the form of adrenaline at the last minute. That’s okay.
For now, I am happy– happy to go easy on myself, happy to go with the flow on a day that feels like a scene from the Wind in the Willows. It’s a good day for moles everywhere, and so I will join them insofar as I can with my oversize sweatshirt and fuzzy socks. I am anticipating pumpkin carving with the kids this weekend, maybe a batch of chocolate chip cookies, and, after the kids are asleep, a fire, wine, chocolate, tea, and making the most of having a true old friend here in our new house in a town where we still feel like strangers, and, last but not least, trying to watch the next season of Downton Abbey illegally.