Here at the seashore they use the clouds over & over again, like the rented animals in Aïda. In the late morning the land breeze turns and now the extras are driving all the white elephants the other way. What language are the children shouting in? He is lying on the beach listening. The sand knocks like glass, struck by bare heels. He tries to remember snow noise. Would powder snow ping like that? But you don't lie with your ear to powder snow. Why doesn't the girl who takes care of the children, a Yale girl without flaw, know the difference between lay and lie? He tries to remember snow, his season. The mind is in charge of things then. Summer is for animals, the ocean is erotic, all that openness and swaying. No matter how often you make love in August you're always aware of genitalia, your own and the half-naked others'. Even with the gracefulest bathers you're aware of their kinship with porpoises, mammals disporting themselves in a blue element, smelling slightly of fish. Porpoise Hazard watches himself awhile, like a blue movie. In the other hemisphere now people are standing up, at work at their easels. There they think about love at night when they take off their serious clothes and go to bed sandlessly, under blankets. Today the children, his own among them, are apparently shouting fluently in Portuguese, using the colonial dialect of Brazil. It is just as well, they have all been changed into small shrill marginal animals, he would not want to understand them again until after Labor Day. He just lays there.
William Meredith - 1919-2007
What it must be like to be an angel or a squirrel, we can imagine sooner. The last time we go to bed good, they are there, lying about darkness. They dandle us once too often, these friends who become our enemies. Suddenly one day, their juniors are as old as we yearn to be. They get wrinkles where it is better smooth, odd coughs, and smells. It is grotesque how they go on loving us, we go on loving them The effrontery, barely imaginable, of having caused us. And of how. Their lives: surely we can do better than that. This goes on for a long time. Everything they do is wrong, and the worst thing, they all do it, is to die, taking with them the last explanation, how we came out of the wet sea or wherever they got us from, taking the last link of that chain with them. Father, mother, we cry, wrinkling, to our uncomprehending children and grandchildren.