Radishes. Bright and cheeering red with bright white inside. A satisfying crunch reveals a peppery, earthy taste. I eat them on the side with vinaigrette-dressed green lettuce.
At a local cafe. Four people at the table next to mine order drinks:
“I’ll want water with lemon.”
“Sounds good to me.”
“I’ll have the same.”
It’s a dialogue waiting for a Roz Chast drawing.
Sign in the resturant on the black board: Soup de jour. Local color captured.
Poetry. This week I finished reading an anthology of 158 poems about food and drink, The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink, edited by Kevin Young. It was a gift at Christmas, and on Christmas Day I read several poems I knew. As I read “Susie Asado,” by Gertrude Stein, I laughed as I enjoyed “Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet tea / Susie Asado.” There’s nothing funny as such about the lines, but I remembered I quoted them once when I drank tea with friends. They liked the lines and thought them appropriate for tea drinking. The next year, when I visited and they served tea, after my first sip, they simultaneously quoted with me, “Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet tea / Susie Asado,” and all of us laughed in remembrance. I did not know many of the poets, and my list of favorite poems now includes “From Blossoms,” by Li-Young Lee with its ending stanza: “There are days we live / as if death were nowhere / in the background; from joy / to joy, from wing to wing, / from blossom to blossom to / impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.” When I finished reading, I returned my bookmark to the first poem to mark the start of re-reading. It’s not a book to shelve, not yet.
Film. “Late Spring,” (1949) directed by Yasujiro Ozo. I liked the quiet humor, the beautiful black and white scenery. The talk that the father has with his daughter about marriage, relationships, and love is wise. In one scene the father and daughter attend a Noh play, and a part of that play is a song which states that the beauty of spring brings enlightenment to earth.
Listening. Edvard Grieg, Lyric Pieces, Op 43. Six Piano Pieces. (Leif Ole Andsnes, Pianist; Virgin Classics, London) These are a great way to begin a spring day: “Butterfly,” suggestive of fragility, darting, and free flight. “Lonely Wanderer,” the only piece in a minor key. Melancholy, sentimental. “In My Homeland,” calm, peaceful, lovely reminiscence. “Little Bird,” suggests melodic song and hopping. Parts are like a folk dance. Children freely responding would probably do some hopping! “Erotic Piece,” my favorite, a simple and melodic love song. I may learn it. “To Spring,” both tender and rhapsodic. In the opening and closing sections, the stirrings of spring are suggested by the use of rhythmic duples; the short middle section is rhapsodic, with agitato rhythm, crescendos, decrescendos, accents, and an effective ritardando at the end. It’s popularity and fame as a good piece are well-deserved.
Images of Spring. (1) A newly painted white picket fence with branches of white dogwood flowers bending low over it. (2) A small and perfect pink dogwood tree in bloom in the side yard of a corner lot. (3) Max the mower bright red in the sun, pausing to let a big black and yellow bumblebee hover in front of it before going into the purple-blooming clover patch to mow. (4) A bank of red azaleas on a hillside, blazing red in the sun.
Blackberry Winter. During the seasonably warm spring weather of last week, a sudden cold snap, Blackberry Winter. Some in the South call it Dogwood Winter. We switched air conditioning of previous days back to the heating system. Springtime has been enjoyed in jackets or sweaters and caps.
Thank you for reading. I hope your week will be good.