Choosing among apples at the supermarket
just the other day I heard
Bing Crosby singing “Jingle Bells.”
Background music so I’m told
can motivate a buyer in a store.
But Bing? Bing Crosby? This must be
the day marked shopping day for us
I say to a green pyramid of Granny Smiths.
And sure enough here comes a busload
slowly from the home for seasoned citizens.
I doubt the muzak moves them any faster
though most likely they’ll remember Bing.
Bing Crosby, ah, Bing Crosby,
how you crooned and nanna swooned
how you spun inside the gramophone
seventy-eight revolutions per minute
dreaming of a White Christmas just like
the ones you used to know. Was that how
I came to think of Christmas mostly as a longing?
Strange and difficult to satisfy. I try
to re-create the pleasures of the past
(and leave the woundings out), but it’s a task
unfestive, one I’m loathe to be about.
All I hear are someone’s memories.
All I see grows gaudier, each year
more desperate to enforce the thing.
All I want is willingness to let the night be dark
(except for stars), dear friends, these apples
red and green, and (maybe) just a bit of Bing.
“Colors are the deeds and sufferings of light.”
It has been said the weather is bright blue
this time of year. A tinge of cobalt cools
the contours, copper trembles, sounding true.
Red and golden maple leaves, the motley fools,
die dancing on a breeze of nevermore.
Those who must learn go back to schools.
The year was started long before
this current, nearer to the final, page
of curling calendar behind the closet door;
yet blood, air, the purple-kissed greengage
belie that paper rubric and bestir unnerving
promise in what’s more than come of age.
Cliché favors youth, the tight uncurving
blade of spring, bronze beauty at the beach,
the summer’s salad days all undeserving.
And youth favors cliché, believing each
grey hint of winter is a closing down,
smug in its grasp of things beyond its reach.
We’ve been there. Now we’re here, my frown,
searching a spattered mirror for small clues
to an unsettling ripening. We grope for nouns
to name it—for the way so many hues
exquisitely become a potent reticence of brown.
. A CERTAIN AGE