Sippican Cottage

Close this search box.


A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything


There are windows in my donjon now.  It is a strange mixture of basement and tower. The house burrows into a slope and I’m below the house but above the ground.

Not as many windows as there once were; more than when we found the place. The last people were their own jailers, and Poe to boot. They immured themselves like Pharoahs. I tore the window holes back open like a delirious person his bandages. Let in some light.

I am never in a reverie. I have a clamp on my head, and a fibrous hand over my mouth. The machines roar and moan incessantly. I think of things while I stare at the grain, over and over, the grits increasing in number and the day slowly decreasing into night. There is nothing dreamy about it, though. I think.

There was a flash of coral pink outside the window — my wife passing by my window on her way into the garden. She didn’t see me. I am lost to her all day.

The hill is steep and people go by like they’re descending a stair, and they look at their feet as people like to do in such cases. She made it past the phalanxes of logs in the dooryard, brooding in the desultory sun, poised for the winter’s battle. Into the garden she went.

We didn’t make the garden. It’s wild and unkempt and wonderful. It’s the wreckage of everyone’s bad idea of a garden, that somehow knitted itself into something. There’s a perfect Christmas tree in the center of it, and the carpet of grass and moss pinwheels around it. The greensward wears a ruff of lupines, black-eyed susans, bleeding hearts, daylilies, daisies, roses, thistles, blackberries, and many other things we don’t even know what to call. There’s an abandoned greenhouse next door, and some of its prisoners have escaped and hide out in our yard, too. It’s late in our season here, and the garden has gone rank and overgrown. The birds turn up their nose at it; the bees have found employment elsewhere.

There’s just a plank ramp from my door to the ground. The house, neglected, shed its porches and roof on that side in a fit of indifference long before we’d even heard of the town we’re in. I shuffled down and stood at the bottom and watched her for a moment.

The wind makes all  the leggy stems sway back and forth like a current in a sea. That wind will remain all winter, but the sun will flee, and it won’t feel as nice as it does now. Bracing, and interesting in its effect on the landscape. She disappears and reappears in the dancing stalks. She’s cutting the yellow flowers that have taken over a corner of the little world. I’ll see them on the table tonight.

No maid in a field of poppies, with a Frenchman and his paint pots, could have made a scene like that for me. You cannot love just any stranger in a garden like that.

9 Responses

  1. I've been trying to think of something to say about this for a while today, but it all boils down to "lovely."

    With all that greenery, it's no wonder this comes across as a breath of fresh air.

  2. see, with writing like this i'll never finish my 'grass in a wall post'. it'll never be half as good. mind you, when i'm telling folks about your blog i'll be able to point them to something else after "the fire flies get their vig" post.
    that was like flash fiction but with your own real picture and your own life.
    utterly enjoyable, leon

  3. The Silken Tent

    She is as in a field a silken tent
    At midday when the sunny summer breeze
    Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent,
    So that in guys it gently sways at ease,
    And its supporting central cedar pole,
    That is its pinnacle to heavenward
    And signifies the sureness of the soul,
    Seems to owe naught to any single cord,
    But strictly held by none, is loosely bound
    By countless silken ties of love and thought
    To every thing on earth the compass round,
    And only by one's going slightly taut
    In the capriciousness of summer air
    Is of the slightlest bondage made aware.

    Robert Frost

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thanks for commenting! Everyone's first comment is held for moderation.