William “Kit” Hathaway is an old friend dating from my early days in Saratoga Springs when he taught at Union College and lived in a lovely house on Regent Street with his second son, Nate, and his daughter, Suzanne, a redoubtable high school rower who would join Kit and Steve Stern and me for our Tuesday night liver-and-onions blow-outs at Shirley’s Diner. Kit has published several books. Look him up. He lives in Maine now. We share, among other things, a love for Dalmatians, although he claims I tried to kill his poor deaf dog Lucy one extremely cold and cruel winter night eons ago. Full disclosure: My current Dalmatian is named Lucy.
Like so many skunk kits,
trooping one-two-three-four across
a broad golf course, the imperceptible
glide of buffleheads down the center
of this morning’s wrinkled cove
seemed to charm wavelets
only moving as a glimmer and firs
still as ghosts that darkly stand and stare
in mirrors into a full scene more
than merely scenery. But skunks
are skunks and ducks are not,
and to say God lurks in details does not
say God’s more parts than sum
or that seeming should be an end-all
of being, but merely that this mind
this morning once saw a line
of small black skunks waddle to and fro,
white tails flouncing side to side,
along a green, and a charm
like a gift is to see again
both buffleheads and skunks,
now and then, seize this dawn
in simple black and white.
See also “Betrayal,” “The Poetry Career,” “Today.”
Classic Hathaway. Minutely seen for the reader. Gorgeous American. Smart. Deeply felt. Si senor!
“Seize this dawn”–a call for revolution at least of heads and hearts. The march of Kit’s kits across the grass grabs us because Kit sees, sees, sees. It’s his revelation and a revolution of his (and our) eyes (and heads and minds) to overthrow distraction and complacency. (And some of us learn a new word, “bufflehead,” who do not reflect as we might, but are reflected in the upside-down/reversed mirror that the firs and the ducks ignore, but Kit can only at peril to his calling.)
(And is there a poem to Kit’s standing on the elm stump in front of Straight Hall [before SCOTUS allowed gay marriage, of course], declaming a poem so many years ago?)
Malcolm, That’s a nice image of Kit. Ages gone.