Sunday, February 10, 2002

Warning: saccharine and sentimental post ahead. Read at your own risk

The husband is now on a cleaning rampage through the house yet again. I feel guilty because I've only folded a few sweaters and he's going at it fullstop. I hate cleaning.

He drives me crazy sometimes, but I love him.

Right after I met him and we decided we were hopelessly in love and I came up from Barcelona to see him and visit Stockholm for the first time, I bought him an antique netsuke - one of those elaborately carved Japanese buttons, this particular one had two old men standing arm in arm. And I wrote a poem to go with it.

The netsuke and the poem still sit on the nightstand next to his side of the bed. And it's all clean now, after his cleaning rampage.


    Once on a time
    men lived lives so uncontainable,
    they were immortalized
    after a fashion:
    sent to the skies
    by some jealous god or another,
    as if it were an honor;
    Pollux and Castor,
    say, side by side,
    burning up for each other,
    but the black space between them impassable,
    so unbearably cold,
    so impossibly wide.

    You and I, well,
    we are at least
    as deserving of immortality.
    But I would choose
    nothing like a star.
    No, we should be something
    intimate, domestic, graspable;
    something to be held
    in the palm of the hand.
    After all, we are
    quite containable.

    A button?
    Yes, we could be a button
    of the Japanese sort,
    a netsuke, you and me,
    two old men carved
    from the same piece of tiny ivory,
    the dye almost rubbed
    from all but our smiles.

    Take it, my love,
    this button,
    warm it in the palm of your hand.
    We are hardly immortal,
    you and me.
    But this button,
    we can aspire to be the smiling,
    bald, thick, flower-bedecked
    old men who hold one another
    on this button.

Aren't the first throes of love heroic?

I know I should be embarrassed to show anyone this poem. But I'm secretly rather proud of it.

The Swedish phrase for the day is min stora kärlek. It means my true love.

- by Francis S.

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