Friday, December 29, 2006

The Joy of Reading

During this laziest of weeks – okay, not counting Monday – I’ve indulged in my favourite of pastimes, reading. Not that I don’t read every day, every week of the year, this reading has been different: nothing has been something I have to read. It’s all been strictly for pleasure.

Guiltiest of these is yet to come, as I’m not quite brave enough to face the end of such a hideously beloved series. So there it sits, beckoning with its creepy cover: the Baudelaire children eyeing a very white foot. Book the Thirteenth, o dread of dreads. If you’re not familiar with Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events, I must caution you. Even the website is very unpleasant. A visit there might well require a glass of fortified eggnog.

Another guilty pleasure was a long-postponed re-read. Earlier this month, I kept bumping into Heinlein’s classic, Stranger in a Strange Land. Three different places, three times. What else could I do but heed the signs, curl up by the fire, and open it again? Only, now that I’ve finished it, I can’t figure out why it hasn’t been made into a film. We could use some water-brother grokkery to mellow out this crazy world.

Just as this week wouldn’t be complete without nibbling butter tarts, no week of lazy pleasures would be complete without sampling some poems. This little treasure by Victoria’s Barbara Pelman popped out from the latest issue of CV2. It seems so appropriate for these last few days of the year. I leave it with you as a belated yuletide gift.

The Angel of Backyards

likes the perspective of rearview mirrors,
sits backwards in buses and subways
checks behind her when she walks
down back alleys–

is left-handed, has lost
the front door key, sits on the porch
contemplating last spring’s garden.
She is a connoisseur of weeds

knows the yellow sharpness of broom,
the white exuberance of yarrow,
counts dandelions and buttercups
among her friends.

The angel of backyards
steals into closed doors, plants
an oblique desire in the darkest
of corners, catches you unaware

while cooking soup, planting petunias,
preparing careful budgets; digs up
buried bones, turns the compost
and there it is again – all that you thought
you lost, all you wish to lose.


Janet Vickers said...

I'm starting a new support group for left-handed people - we are under-acknowledged in the angel or person department.

Jenn said...

I love that poem - thanks for including it in your post!

(janet, if you ever start that lefty support group, count me in!)

Janet Vickers said...

That's two of us and more than one person makes a group, doesn't it? Consider it started.