Summer is late, my heart.
Words plucked out of the air
some forty years ago
when I was wild with love
and torn almost in two
scatter like leaves this night
of whistling wind and rain.
It is my heart that’s late,
it is my song that’s flown.
Outdoors all afternoon
under a gunmetal sky
staking my garden down,
I kneeled to the crickets trilling
underfoot as if about
to burst from their crusty shells;
and like a child again
marveled to hear so clear
and brave a music pour
from such a small machine.
What makes the engine go?
Desire, desire, desire.
The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.
One season only,
and it’s done.
So let the battered old willow
thrash against the windowpanes
and the house timbers creak.
Darling, do you remember
the man you married? Touch me,
remind me who I am.
And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only [when He is] together with us would they be made perfect.
when she was four and no one was home… He said she surely just dreamt that she was able to fly. The baby stood her ground like an angel. She said she knew she was able to fly because when she came down she always had dust on her fingers from touching the light bulbs. I long to see her”(Salinger, Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters, pg. 9).
“Even in the dark, I could sense that she felt that usual estrangement from me when I didn’t automatically love what she loves… She worries over the way her love for me comes and goes, appears and disappears. She doubts its reality simply because it isn’t as steadily pleasurable as a kitten. God knows it is sad. The human voice conspires to desecrate everything on earth.”
(Salinger, Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters, 67).
”Zooey said [development houses] were ‘nice.’ He said it would be very nice to come home and be in the wrong house. To eat dinner with the wrong people by mistake, sleep in the wrong bed by mistake, and kiss everybody goodbye in the morning thinking they were your own family. He said he even wished everybody in the world looked exactly alike. He said you’d keep thinking everybody you met was your wife or your mother or father, and people would always be throwing their arms around each other wherever they went, and it would look ‘very nice’ “
(Salinger, Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters, 68).
“I don’t think he could see her for what she is. A person deprived, for life, of any understanding or taste for the main current of poetry that flows through things, all things. She might as well be dead, and yet she goes on living, stopping off at delicatessens, seeing her analyst, consuming a novel every night, putting on her girdle, plotting for Muriel’s health and prosperity. I love her. I find her unimaginably brave”
(Salinger, Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters, 72).
“Certain heads, certain colors and textures of human hair leave permanent marks on me. Other things, too. Charlotte once ran away from me, outside the studio, and I grabbed her dress to stop her, to keep her near me. A yellow cotton dress I loved because it was too long for her. I still have a lemon-yellow mark on the palm of my right hand. Oh, God, if I’m anything by a clinical name, I’m a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy”
(Salinger, Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters, 75).
“We were up at the Lake. Seymour had written to Charlotte, inviting her to come and visit us, and her mother finally let her. What happened was, she sat down in the middle of our driveway one morning to pet Boo Boo’s cat, and Seymour threw a stone at her because she looked so beautiful sitting there in the middle of the driveway with Boo Boo’s cat. Everybody knew that for God’s sake”
(Salinger, Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters, 89).