Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Night Frolic — Acorns

Tuesday was not just a wedding anniversary it
was grey and blustery, rain-soaked
intervals and intervals that couldn't
decide whether they
were intervals

Nineteen years ago, Tuesday, it was the same
grey morning spit which did not stop a golf
game, a walk along the ocean and into
church and everyone said it meant
good luck

But luck is hardly a factor except
when you're down on your luck
and your spouse looks as
grey as the day you
were married

Or the day nineteen years later when you're walking
the dog, or the cat, or the pig or whatever it is
you've domesticated and from the south a storm
of all colors churns maple and oak leaves
and acorns

A day more menacing than the day you were
married enamored of one another, long
before sweet quirks actualized as
annoyances that drove
you crazy

Like his pathological resistance to plan anything or
engage in hyper polemics, as opposed to, say
avoidance, or his addiction to e-bay and
old movie posters too big for
mere walls

(And you thought, you really thought, that
you wouldn't mind if he ate crackers in
your bed)

How is it one in every two marriages survive?
When the veins of heaven distend with squalls
and the oak's acorn-spittle flops on your  head
you quicken pace and feel bad that you ever
loathed him

That there were those moments, days, months, when you loathed
one another—year two, year five, year twelve, year...
the sky and pavement bend heliotrope and two wide-eyed
squirrels chase barb-capped nuts, acorns as dark
as mahogany

They taste of bitter tannin but the squirrels don't mind
they pounce on fallen mast knowing the cache
which is to be their sustenance in the cold
dark months is all that will get
them through

And then, an interval

Great berry chromatic bursts, wind funneling acorns
into its vortex, you're in the storm's eye which
seems oddly not annoying or vile, and as it
spins out on the tar it dumps brilliant
green acorns

In your pocket you place two firm, sage-lacquered
nuts, bring them home as a warm breeze carries
your back.

*     *     *

The Acorn's first release, The Pink Ghosts (2004), was a sumptuous tribute to the band's native Ottawa. Since then, The Acorn has gone on to record several albums, including the acclaimed Glory Hope Mountain (2007), an anthology of mellifluous and vivid stories inspired by song writer Rolf Klausener's Central-American-born mother. And later, No Ghost (2009), described (direct from their website) as: 
...a recording swaddled in dichotomy: togetherness and isolation, acoustic and electric, destruction and restoration.
Which began as:
...hazy late-night improvisations, early morning melodies pulled from the thinning threads of sleep. Modernity clashed with the bucolic via exploratory percussion, feedback, acoustic textures and the natural surrounding sounds.

 Watch those acorns!


  1. love it Jayne.

    "That there were those moments, days, months, when you loathed
    one another—year two, year five, year twelve, year..."

    how true is that! and that you included it. they don't last, those times, and those are the ones that make it, the ones that wait it out for whatever reason, knowing it will probably come again.

    1. "...wait it out for whatever reason..." Funny, sometimes we don't know what that reason is. There's a certain amount of faith that goes into a relationship. Actually, I think faith is huge component. What have we without it? For better or worse, eh? ;)

  2. Friday Night Frolic returns with a gem.
    I love the tenth paragraph. And what is to be our sustenance in the cold dark months, no, years, of old age that will get us through? That person I've loathed. He will be there for me and I for him. We have cached each other for the darkest days ahead.
    I have a thing for acorns.

    1. Oh yes, Leonora--we must vigilantly gather a lasting cache of all kinds of morsels! Sweet and bitter. Bittersweet. You have a thing for acorns--I love that! :)

  3. Madly in love with the love and the truth. Life is better with than without, not always explained but always known. And the giggling of familiarity with the things that drive us crazy in our loved ones, while fully knowing why we choose to reach over to them. Thank you. And happy anniversary!

    1. Isn't it funny, EG? I know there are plenty of things about me that drive my hubby crazy. But I'll bet there are plenty more that he's not going to reveal. Long walks are my marriage therapy. The hum and synchronicity of nature inspires. Seasons turn and all things change and eventually brighten. Sometimes, perhaps, we know it is not worth lingering in the long, dark interval. And it's a good thing to recognize this. But many of us instinctively sense when it's worth the wait. Grrr. :)

  4. wrote that? Lawdy lawdy lawdy....that's good...all professional like...and it comes from the heart...what a lovely piece!
    Yes life does go on around those 'big moments' in life but when your in the middle of it...time does stop for a second...
    happy anniversary!
    oh a choice song to accompany it as well :)

    1. Dan- All professional like! Oh, thank you, yep, straight from the ticker at a bright moment in time. Now had I not emerged from that storm... oh the things I might tell! Heh. ;)

  5. I will.

    And happy anniversary, my dear Jayne.

    (Ah, Ottawa.)

  6. That was great! I loved that loathing bit; how sad and silly and true it is.
    I was wondering when we'd be blessed with another Frolic.

    1. Oh but doesn't it feel good to loathe, Nessa?! When I'm in the thick of that kind of seething, knowing I am in the right, totally justified in my belief, how righteous I feel! Haha! Thank goodness I eventually get real. ;)

  7. It does seem true that those who make it through the years, good and bad, do end up as comfort to each other in their old age. Personally, I never could compromise that well and so remain alone. I am always in awe of those who can remain together for years. Here's hoping the rest of your years will be filled with many many acorns!

    1. Sometimes cold comfort, Ru? It is an arduous journey--staying together. I think for many people it does not come so naturally. I may be one of those, even if I come from a pretty stable family, raised to believe in the institution of marriage--that institution is a delicate beast. For many, it means compromising too much. Key is the balance. Without it we topple. Which may be well and fine for some of us. If the for the better part of the vows outweighs the worse, it may be worth all the tricky calibrating!

      Thanks for the wishes, Ru. :)

  8. Back later. For now, I just wanted to be the first to say: Nuts!

    No Joke Too Easy in FL

    1. "No Joke Too Easy in FL" !!! Yep, nuts, that's kinda how I felt writing this ditty. ;)
      I will see further down this thread... ;)

  9. Happy Anniversary Jayne! Thank you for this post. It's beautiful.

    "When the veins of heaven distend with squalls
    and the oak's acorn spittle flops on your head
    you quicken pace and feel bad that you ever
    loathed him"

    Yes loathing. Yes loving. Yes nothing...just a soothing grey noise.
    Side by side.
    Life would seem impossible without him.

    I'm about to go catch a plane;)

    1. Thank you, Leah! Side by side, yes. (Even if sometimes you want to give him a good shove! It is hard to imagine any other way.

      Hope you're visit it going well. :)

  10. wow 19 years, congrats Jayne - marriage is a great institutional, there's no other place you can drop in to get hung, drawn and quartered in on a daily basis - really one in two marriages survive? That's an amazing stat.

    1. David- Ha! Got a chuckle out of this. Hung, drawn and quartered--yikes! I wonder if my husband often feels this way? Hmmm. Dare I ask him? No way. He's a big boy. He can deal! ;)

  11. happy anniversary, jayne.

    you delivered a powerful punch with your honesty in this piece. quite the storm, marriage. no sugar coating here—"....taste of bitter tannin but the squirrels don't mind...." and then the harvest of brilliant green that you choose. you will keep it to store away, bring safely home.

    i am always curious about how ideas are sparked, where things come from that end up on a page. good one, jayne.

    1. Storm is right, M! So long as the calm eventually rolls in, though, we can ride it out, right? (Who am I trying to convince here?!) My walks are often the source for my stories.

      I can tell you that I often daydream right through them and arrive back home not remembering my thoughts, the underlying stimuli, or how I got back home. Eventually, things surface. If I only quick wrote it all down!

  12. Hey, the Acorn is wonderful. (Thanks for the introduction to them.) And "...swaddled in dichotomy: togetherness and isolation, acoustic and electric, destruction and restoration": apt, much, for this post?

    Although The Missus and I have been married for only 11 years, we moved in together in 1992. True, it's not quite the same thing. E.g.: when we finally tied the knot, while it was a lovely, unforgettable experience (shipboard! in Vancouver! en route to Alaska!), the ceremony had not quite the same sense of ceremoniousness; we were well past the "you thought, you really thought, that/you wouldn't mind" stage, had no family on hand, and were toasted by people we barely knew. (And carrying someone across the honeymoon threshold is a quite different experience when just getting oneself through the stateroom door alone is an exercise in carefully executed geometry.) The stars once in our eyes had been stowed away in little velvet-lined wooden boxes which we kept in our dresser drawers back at home, only occasionally taking them out to see if they still fit.

    But the way you describe it (the ceremony, and the years after) here so resonates with me, and obviously with others. You know the so-called "Anyway poem," supposedly written by Mother Teresa? (It wasn't, but, well, anyway...) Most couples probably experience marriage that way, as a mixed blessing; but on balance, yes, a blessing. (You may recall that I love Sondheim on the subject -- both points of view, hilariously cynical and wistful.)

    And, btw, I was totally in thrall to the poem -- and that you didn't attribute it to someone else seemed, for a split second, an uncharacteristic oversight. Then it hit me, like, Jeezus. SHE WROTE THAT. You, JES, actually know somebody who writes like that! I can be such a clod sometimes, and that this sort of thing continues to surprise me just proves it. "...rain-soaked/intervals and intervals that couldn't/decide whether they/were intervals": what I wouldn't give for that sort of insight and concision.

    1. Oh I'm glad you listened to The Acorn, JES. (NPR featured them way back in 2008 when they first released Glory Hope Mountain. And well, ya, I couldn't pass up that quoted material. Too perfect.

      Your last paragraph makes me laugh--sometimes I feel like I shouldattribute my work to someone else! Like I must have subconsciously stolen it. Not that it's a masterwork of any sort, but, ya know, yes, you know me: the FRAUD syndrome! No matter how I feel about it, though (and I'll tinker w/it in my poetry class which starts this Wednesday), I'm glad that it resonated with you and others. And regardless of its poetic merit (or lack thereof), that, alone, makes me feel like it was a minor success. ;)

      And your wedding story sounds ideal to me. Going to Alaska on board a ship--that's pretty darn romantic, whether or not there you've taken with you the sparkly stars of young lovers. I don't know if we store away those stars. I think, maybe, they eventually (gratefully) burn out, and are replaced by more mature, wiser stars. Stars that still twinkle but don't lie! Brutally honest stars.

  13. Wow. And hello. And happy anniversary.

    1. Well Hello to you, Antares! And thank you... Glad to see you back in Blogland. ;)

  14. Jayne, This is a bit of honesty here. Store those acorns for the cold grey months ahead. Soon enough, it will be summer again. Happy Anniversary.

    1. Oh, just a bit, Bill! Scraping the surface of those nuts! Ha. No--I'm good with that... I can wait 'til next summer. I think. ;)

  15. 19 years - that's not bad. Congratulations.
    We had 22 years this spring (if my counting is correct).

    "How is it one in every two marriages survive?"

    Interesting question. I think a key thing is to give each other enough freedom. Donæt wabt to own anybody, don't want to be owned by anybody >:)

    Cold As Heaven

    1. Twenty-two years is even better, Cold! Freedom, faith, balance, respect... Yep, all of that sure helps. Still not an easy ride, but as long as we're refueling w/the right stuff, we ought to be Ok. ;)

  16. Happy anniversary, dear Jayne!
    I like especially:
    "(And you thought, you really thought, that you wouldn't mind if he ate crackers in your bed)" - I like the other great verses too, but this is hilarious. I think one needs humour, patience, love, tolerance - and, if possible, "A Room of one's Own" - for a long-lasting marriage (and I know what I am talking of - my parents had to give their written permission to my marriage, because I was not of age then).

    1. Britta- Although that "eating crackers" part is a fairly common line, I couldn't help myself to it. A Room of One's Own. Yes, I'd like to than Virginia Woolf, for insisting upon this, yes! Here's to many more happy years together for you and yours! ;)

  17. Quietly brave (not so easy to talk about loathing...)--I love this, Jayne, and the way you have with layered, subtle surprises. I've had a great time catching up with you this morning. (Thanks, by the way, for mentioning Joe Blair. I got his book (just finished it)--it's excellent.)

    1. Dearest Maria - Oh but don't we all just want to discuss it!! So glad you stopped by to catch up. And you rascal--you've finished the book before me! (I've had too a long a pause and need to get back to it.) Glad you liked it--knowing your exquisite ease, all the more reason for me to get back to it. ;)

  18. Jayne: Happy Anniversary to you and your lucky hubby! What a magnificent writer you are. I am reminded of so many classics that a tough English teacher in 7th grade made us read. Your writing is equal to these authors. As a single guy, I can say that my parents were happily married 59 years and one week when I lost my Dad. My Mom says it requires "give and take, and while you won't always agree, you love one another". A Toast to You Both! : )

    1. Michael- Your support means a lot to me, thank you for that. 59 years--wow! That's a beautiful thing. Your mom is absolutely spot on. Give and take goes a loooong way--certainly w/your parents!

  19. Happy Anniversary!!! Somehow I missed this post...wonderful! Yeah, there are times we loath, but the love out weighs it by far! Congrats to you and yours.

    1. Thanks, Loree. It's a good think to see the scale tip in favor of love. It outweighs all, doesn't it? :)

  20. "In your pocket you place two firm, sage-lacquered
    nuts, bring them home as a warm breeze carries
    your back". While hiking this time of year I do come across many Acorn's (wonderful nut's / seeds) who are crying out to be picked up, to be examined, and begging for you to bring them home. But, I must admit, while raking the millions of leaves in my back yard, I have no desire at all to stop and examine one Acorn. It's all in the contaxt I suppose. Wonderful Story Jayne.

    1. Gary- Sometimes those nuts have to hit you hard on the head for you to notice--or bother to check 'em out! ;)

  21. "How is it one in every two marriages survive?"

    It took four tries for me.

  22. So 4x is the charm, eh, Jerry? Brave soul, you are. ;)