cold nights on the farm, a sock-shod stove-warmed flatiron slid under the covers, mornings a damascene- sealed bizarrerie of fernwork decades ago now waking in northwest London, tea brought up steaming, a Peak Frean biscuit alongside to be nibbled as blue gas leaps up singing decades ago now damp sheets in Dorset, fog-hung habitat of bronchitis, of long hot soaks in the bathtub, of nothing quite drying out till next summer: delicious to think of hassocks pulled in close, toasting- forks held to coal-glow, strong-minded small boys and big eager sheepdogs muscling in on bookish profundities now quite forgotten the farmhouse long sold, old friends dead or lost track of, what's salvaged is this vivid diminuendo, unfogged by mere affect, the perishing residue of pure sensation
The Sun Underfoot Among the Sundews
An ingenuity too astonishing to be quite fortuitous is this bog full of sundews, sphagnum- lines and shaped like a teacup. A step down and you're into it; a wilderness swallows you up: ankle-, then knee-, then midriff- to-shoulder-deep in wetfooted understory, an overhead spruce-tamarack horizon hinting you'll never get out of here. But the sun among the sundews, down there, is so bright, an underfoot webwork of carnivorous rubies, a star-swarm thick as the gnats they're set to catch, delectable double-faced cockleburs, each hair-tip a sticky mirror afire with sunlight, a million of them and again a million, each mirror a trap set to unhand believing, that either a First Cause said once, "Let there be sundews," and there were, or they've made their way here unaided other than by that backhand, round- about refusal to assume responsibility known as Natural Selection. But the sun underfoot is so dazzling down there among the sundews, there is so much light in that cup that, looking, you start to fall upward.