Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Torchmen Poppies

Childhood is crowded with memory but one stands out for it's poignance. I am sitting by the window in my bedroom, watching the rain. Earlier that year we had the house painted. I had chosen lime green for my room. I was molting from the
"posters-on-every-inch-of-wall" stage to stark minimalism.

My books and tapes were put away in the closet. I had no desire to share my world with anyone. A solitary plant in an old perfume bottle was all I had left. It drew attention to itself in a subtle way. Very Zen, though I did not know being only about thirteen at the time.

I have never felt so utterly peaceful just to sit curled up on a bed by a window, thinking or feeling nothing just absorbing the smell of rain on dry earth, watching the leaves on the trees glisten.

In the field of wheat that old days were, those moments will forever be the torchmen poppies. I can never forget.


Poppies on the Wheat

Helen Hunt Jackson

ALONG Ancona's hills the shimmering heat,
A tropic tide of air with ebb and flow
Bathes all the fields of wheat until they glow
Like flashing seas of green, which toss and beat
Around the vines. The poppies lithe and fleet
Seem running, fiery torchmen, to and fro
To mark the shore.

The farmer does not know
That they are there. He walks with heavy feet,
Counting the bread and wine by autumn's gain,
But I,--I smile to think that days remain
Perhaps to me in which, though bread be sweet
No more, and red wine warm my blood in vain,
I shall be glad remembering how the fleet,
Lithe poppies ran like torchmen with the wheat

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