Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret
among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times
but in tune with the ages. --First Things

Monday, December 31, 2012

Bright story, new year

The year past was a long and complicated journey, a tempering one--an interesting Bilbo sort of journey, where one grows older and means not to come back. And somehow I feel unready for New Year's resolutions. Perhaps I will make mine around St. Valentine's day, when it used to be said that the birds would fly back to summer homes... By that date, I start to believe that spring will come to the North.

Here is a story like a wish in exchange for resolutions.

One day some years ago, the poet (and rancher, elsewhere) Drum Hadley invited the five of us to walk around the lake and pools and waterfalls he had designed for his mother's property above Otsego Lake. We wandered around, picking up leaves and improving the time, as Thoreau would say. The scene was a pleasant mix of nature and artifice, with rustic lampposts sheathed in bark set up around the edge of the lake.

When my daughter fell behind on the path (how long ago was it? was she thirteen or thereabouts?) I turned to look back. Her hand was stretched out in a formal gesture, the palm and fingers not quite touching the bole of the lamppost. Out of memory, she glances at me, her eyes shining--or is it her face, or her whole body in the faint first shimmer from the lamp?

Narnia, she says.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.