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luís soares

Blog do escritor Luís Soares

Grace Paley - Autumn

 

What is sometimes called a   

   tongue of flame 

or an arm extended burning   

   is only the long 

red and orange branch of   

   a green maple 

in early September   reaching 

   into the greenest field 

out of the green woods   at the 

   edge of which the birch trees   

appear a little tattered   tired 

   of sustaining delicacy 

all through the hot summer   re- 

   minding everyone (in   

our family) of a Russian 

   song   a story 

by Chekhov   or my father 

 

 

 

What is sometimes called a   

   tongue of flame 

or an arm extended   burning 

   is only the long 

red and orange branch of 

   a green maple 

in early September   reaching   

   into the greenest field 

out of the green woods   at the   

   edge of which the birch trees 

appear a little tattered   tired 

   of sustaining delicacy 

all through the hot summer   re- 

   minding everyone (in   

our family) of a Russian 

   song   a story by 

Chekhov or my father on 

   his own lawn   standing   

beside his own wood in 

   the United States of   

America   saying (in Russian) 

   this birch is a lovely 

tree   but among the others 

   somehow superficial 

Grace Paley - House: Some Instructions

If you have a house

you must think about it all the time   

as you reside in the house so

it must be a home in your mind

 

you must ask yourself (wherever you are)   

have I closed the front door

 

and the back door is often forgotten   

not against thieves necessarily

 

but the wind   oh   if it blows   

either door open   then the heat

 

the heat you’ve carefully nurtured   

with layers of dry hardwood

 

and a couple of opposing green   

brought in to slow the fire

 

as well as the little pilot light   

in the convenient gas backup

 

all of that care will be mocked because   

you have not kept the house on your mind

 

but these may actually be among   

the smallest concerns   for instance

 

the house could be settling   you may   

notice the thin slanting line of light

 

above the doors   you have to think about that   

luckily you have been paying attention

 

the house’s dryness can be humidified   

with vaporizers in each room and pots

 

of water on the woodstove   should you leave   

for the movies after dinner   ask yourself

 

have I turned down the thermometer

and moved all wood paper away from the stove

 

the fiery result of excited distraction   

could be too horrible to describe

 

now we should talk especially to Northerners   

of the freezing of the pipe   this can often

 

be prevented by pumping water continuously   

through the baseboard heating system

 

allowing the faucet to drip drip continuously   

day and night   you must think about the drains

 

separately   in fact you should have established   

their essential contribution to the ordinary

 

kitchen and toilet life of the house   

digging these drains deep into warm earth

 

if it hasn’t snowed by mid-December you   

must cover them with hay   sometimes rugs

 

and blankets have been used   do not be   

troubled by their monetary value

 

as this is a regionally appreciated emergency   

you may tell your friends to consider

 

your house as their own   that is   

if they do not wear outdoor shoes

 

when thumping across the gleam of their poly-

urethaned floors they must bring socks or slippers

 

to your house as well   you must think   

of your house when you’re in it and

 

when you’re visiting the superior cabinets   

and closets of others   when you approach

 

your house in the late afternoon

in any weather   green or white   you will catch

 

sight first of its new aluminum snow-resistant   

roof and the reflections in the cracked windows

 

its need in the last twenty-five years for paint   

which has created a lovely design

 

in russet pink and brown   the colors of un-

intentioned neglect   you must admire the way it does not

 

(because of someone’s excellent decision

sixty years ago) stand on the high ridge deforming

 

the green profile of the hill but rests in the modesty   

of late middle age under the brow of the hill with

 

its back to the dark hemlock forest looking steadily

out for miles toward the cloud refiguring meadows and

 

mountains of the next state   coming up the road

by foot or auto the house can be addressed personally

 

House!   in the excitement of work and travel to

other people’s houses with their interesting improvements

 

we thought of you often and spoke of your coziness

in winter   your courage in wind and fire   your small

 

airy rooms in humid summer   how you nestle in spring

into the leaves and flowers of the hawthorn and the sage green

 

leaves of the Russian olive tree   House!   you were not forgotten