Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands"

Untitled, Oakland, March 2008.

My wife's laughter is as abundant as her hydrangeas. She laughs to my camera (and at my high jinks) without reservation. Her eyes are shaped like Simone Signoret's eyes. They are a smokey shade of hazel that become iridescent in the light. But every time she laughs, those wonderful eyes turn to slits like a child's drawing of Asian eyes, and I have picture after picture of my wife, laughing, with slits for eyes.

In the e.e. cummings poem that is the title of this post, he wrote: "your slightest look easily will unclose me / though i have closed myself as fingers." The journey with my wife has unclosed many rooms within me that were once shut tightly, the most formidable of which was the capacity to give and to enjoy affection. Her ebullience unwinds me, her lightness of spirit tempers my ponderousness, she is as patient with me as she is with her wisterias which, to my compulsive mind, take forever to bloom. I am relaxed in her presence. Ours is an easygoing friendship that has evolved into an easygoing marriage. She indulges my many neuroses, including this blog, and the camera that is always attached to my face.

When we first lived together in New York, we heard this song by Jerome Kern and decreed that it will be our song. Twenty years into our marriage, with one child grown into manhood, what we then fancied in jest upon listening to the song has taken on the spirit of a place that is suddenly within arm's reach. And I be damned if I don't take her there.
Someday we'll build a home on a hilltop high
You and I, shiny and new
Cottage that two can fill
And we'll be pleased to be called
The folks who live on the hill

Our verandah will command a view of meadows green
The sort of view that seems to want to be seen
And when our kids grow up and leave us
We sit and look at that same old view
Just we two, Darby and Joan
Who used to be Jack and Jill
The folks who like to be called
What they have always been called
The folks who live on the hill


  1. that's a beautiful song, manny. i have an LP version sung by carol kidd. and it always draws out a wistful smile on my face but, surely, not as beautiful as the smile of your wife!

  2. hey, eddiecon, thanks! i love carol kidd's version, very cool and laid back. i like her cover much much better than the famous peggy lee interpretation. we first heard the song in andrea marcovicci's "sings movies" album, a great album if you can find it.


  3. those are great portraits of dang, mannny.