Why this?

The occasional poem of my own and a generous helping of work by others that I find inspiring. Site is named for a beloved book by one of my favorite writers, Italo Calvino, whose fanciful work lights--and delights--my soul.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Nostalgia of the Lakefronts

Cities burn behind us; the lake glitters. 
A tall loudspeaker is announcing prizes; 
Another, by the lake, the times of cruises. 
Childhood, once vast with terrors and surprises, 
Is fading to a landscape deep with distance— 
And always the sad piano in the distance, 


Faintly in the distance, a ghostly tinkling 
(O indecipherable blurred harmonies) 
Or some far horn repeating over water 
Its high lost note, cut loose from all harmonies. 
At such times, wakeful, a child will dream the world, 
And this is the world we run to from the world. 


Or the two worlds come together and are one 
On dark, sweet afternoons of storm and of rain, 
And stereopticons brought out and dusted, 
Stacks of old Geographics, or, through the rain, 
A mad wet dash to the local movie palace 
And the shriek, perhaps, of Kane’s white cockatoo. 
(Would this have been summer, 1942?) 


By June the city always seems neurotic. 
But lakes are good all summer for reflection, 
And ours is famed among painters for its blues, 
Yet not entirely sad, upon reflection. 
Why sad at all? Is their wish so unique— 
To anthropomorphize the inanimate 
With a love that masquerades as pure technique? 


O art and the child were innocent together! 
But landscapes grow abstract, like aging parents. 
Soon now the war will shutter the grand hotels, 
And we, when we come back, will come as parents. 
There are no lanterns now strung between pines— 
Only, like history, the stark bare northern pines. 


And after a time the lakefront disappears 
Into the stubborn verses of its exiles 
Or a few gifted sketches of old piers. 
It rains perhaps on the other side of the heart; 
Then we remember, whether we would or no. 
—Nostalgia comes with the smell of rain, you know. 


--Donald Justice

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