I find this book among your things
which your wife sent and
I thought I didn’t want.
A play, which I’ve never read:
The Whales of August
Then all is not lost, dear lady...
It is one of your favourites,
which I never saw you perform.
Yes, imagine...to dine and be flooded by moonlight...
Your pipe tobacco hits me before I even open
then your uppercase, manly handwriting hits me,
when I do
And you held this book,
you broke this spine, smoked your pipe as you read
and marked these lines, your lines, with green pen
You loved this play. I remember now.
But then, a thing of beauty is never fully at rest...
I begin, and you are Maranov the faded Russian noble,
right from the start:
Maranov appears on porch boardwalk. Unbowed by his years, he moves with grace and dignity. He wears woolen knickers, a rather worn, dark tweed, stout boots and heavy socks, a blue shirt, and a roomy, old navy blue cardigan, all rather comfortably gone to seed. He sports a Panama hat and carries a bamboo fishing pole along with his burlap-bagged catch of sea perch. The women don’t notice him as he approaches the screen door...
It’s unspeakably sweet, this stage image of you,
aged, gentle, gracious,
a vagabond with great manners and a mysterious past
coming up from the beach with dinner, discreet and worldly
we ate “crisps” and drank wine,
in your later years you wore a crazy-man muumuu and
a tea cozy hat that really set you apart,
along with the zinc oxide nose cream