There's No Blue Like the Blue of Plumbago.
So what if your heart is a muscle kept alive by its own drumming?
If you say your brain is a sieve, everyone knows what you mean.
My father-in-law lost a good part of his mind to senility But pretended
he hadn't, although he knew the truth well enough.
We pretended, too. But our maneuvers angered him, For he viewed evasion
as a privilege only he should enjoy,
Since the rest of us had no compelling reason to fie, unlike him, And he
hated lying more than he hated almost anything else.
So he came to perceive he had no friends and could trust no one, And
this made him furtive and unwilling to risk a direct answer,
Even if you asked him an innocuous question, such as the time of day, To
which he would respond, "Who wants to know?"
For he felt as if he were being probed to see if he could still tell
time, When it was evident to all but the dead that he no longer could,
And maybe to them as well, if they still cared about such things, And
even more obvious that time was now inconsequential to him,
As it would be to anyone hijacked so far from the action, Which all of
us clearly must comprehend or were idiots otherwise.
And what did that have to do with the wristwatch he wore And queried
several times each hour, as he had every day
Over the last sixty years of his life and might with his final breath?
For he had not forgotten its intentions or the mercy it proffered.
But to speak the plain truth, we knew the time and knew he did not, And
we knew what he said about time was true not only for him
But in a handful of years probably would be so for us as well. I tried
to imagine what it would be like not knowing my wife's name,
To call her "Hey Beautiful" fifty times a day, how she would
feel, What it must be like to give up looking for a name you will never
When of all names, it is one you will be most shamed to lose. He lost
the name of the moon, too, but not its allure.
On the nights it arose over the hills, full-bellied and indolent,
Concealing itself halfway behind a row of cedars lining the roadway,
He would stand on the balcony and say, "How beautiful is
that?" And then after another minute or so, "That's a
And of course it was, in that immodest way the moon can have, Although I
could never discern why it appeared so much larger
Climbing the horizon at his house than at ours, five miles away, Or why
my commendations of his acuity could seem so ungenerous.
Each time we wobbled together around the block, linked arm-in-arm, He
would always stop in admiration before the same flowering shrub,
And I would tell him again it was a common plumbago, Ubiquitous here but
too tender for Long Island, his home turf.
Then he would say in his entire life he had never seen anything like it,
He couldn't imagine a more remarkable sight or more lovely flower,
There was no blue like that blue. And that was true, too-- That's
the bluest of the blues, the blue that makes blue blue.