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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