Wednesday, May 23, 2007

416. Virginia Woolf Gathers Mushrooms - William Dickey

She is not easy to see. she wears
something anonymous: not the dress
she has not got and so (sigh of relief)
cannot go the the party she was
so much of two minds about going to.
Certainly not the dress she wore down
to dinner at Hyde Park Gate, after
washing in the inadequate basin, the dress
her half-brother, that authority,
looked at and looked away.

The mushrooms are not
really an obsession, but, as the war
keeps killing and removing, as the moon
becomes a mere indicator (if it bright
there will be German planes, the servants
on mattresses in the basement) there is
little enough to hope for, little
that seems convincing
in any natural way.

Chocolate is unobtainable, eggs arrive
by two, if they arrive. But on the slope
above Asheham, at the right time of the year,
the mushrooms are given. There are the right places
to find them, learned only be craft and care.
Some visitors (Pernel Strachey, Vice-President
of Newham College, Cambridge) look too high.
The trick is to focus in.

The years gone, it is easy to imagine her,
that historic profile, attending to the best music,
dividing and discriminating, allowed for once
the right dress, the right hat, the clothes
one discriminates in.

to watch her carry her almost-nothing body
up the earth slope, taking on an earthen color,
vanishing almost from the over-freighted air,
to watch where yesterday
there was nothing; today, something.
In a little dip of the hill, enough mushrooms
to fill her handkerchief, enough
for two people to eat, quietly, at evening,
love continuing, life happening,
the house easy so.

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