In the low blue lustre

Carl SandburgI have become obsessed recently with the Carl Sandburg poem “Sketch.” I have a brittle, well read edition of Chicago Poems. Besides the brutally insightful poems of Sandburg, the inside cover has a note from my dad, who bought the slim volume for me while stuck in the Chicago airport seven years ago. It is one of my favorite books of poetry, but for some reason, “Sketch” never struck me the way it has in the last few weeks. Perhaps the difference is that now I live only two blocks from a harbor (the one in the photo), and the ocean is omnipresent in this city.

“The shadows of the ships
Rock on the crest
In the low blue lustre
Of the tardy and the soft inrolling tide.

A long brown bar at the dip of the sky
Puts an arm of sand in the span of salt.

The lucid and endless wrinkles
Draw in, lapse and withdraw.
Wavelets crumble and white spent bubbles
Wash on the floor of the beach.

Rocking on the crest
In the low blue lustre
Are the shadows of the ships.”

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I am eating & I am reading jan.11.2013

Inspired by the classy Sunnyside Tuxedo , I thought I’d share my happy little lunch setup. I’ve been putting a lot more consideration and thought into creating little food experiences at home that nourish my body and my mind.

Today, I spent lunchtime at Kolaportið, the Reykjavik fleamarket, where I picked up some fresh foods and old books on the cheap (-ish…it is Iceland after all). After a brief stop by the lake to soak up the brightest moment of the winter sun, I sat down to enjoy my acquisitions.

Classy Lunch
My plate contains only products of Iceland. The breads are normalbrauð and flatkökur. I spread some berry jam from Egilsstaðir on the normalbrauð and topped the flatkökur with fresh honey-dill-Salmon. And I finished off the plate with some local cheese (ostur) and carrots (gulraetur).

The book on Copenhagen was published in 1947 by The Danish Society for the Preservation of Nature. It features beautiful prose and black and white photographs describing post-war Copenhagen. (If all goes according to plan, I will spend the upcoming fall semester in Denmark’s capitol on exchange from the University of Iceland.) It opens like this:

Who, knowing Copenhagen, can remain insensible to her charm, or fail to respond to the cheery bustle of her business hours, to the ready repartee of her good-humored citizens, or to the democratic conviction that here, at least, all men are equals.

I’m on a 19th century novel British novel kick right now, so I’m reading a beautiful, little old edition of Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now. 

[You can read more about my adventures and day to day life in gorgeous Reykjavik on my other blog, An American in Iceland.]

Wanting Sadness

It wasn’t the fault of the bench or the insensitivity of a premature winter sunset. I don’t blame the cheerful people filling all the open spaces, cutting off every avenue for escape. Logically, I can’t hold the cold night air accountable for failing to clear my mind while I sat on my favorite bench. For a moment, I did raise my eyebrows at God. I know better, in these occasional hours of distress, than to ask for happiness. Happiness is far too trivial an emotion to do any real good. Happiness- can I be frank here?- perhaps it’s overrated. No, what I most thirst for when internal chaos is making it hard to breath is not a sip of air, but a full lung- an emotion deep enough to meet me where I am and respond. Happiness might see the silver lining; I desperately need to see the gold of this whole hurting.

From slumber, I awoke in the morning
To the sweetest sadness
A vision of the unreachable ideal-
While sleeping, I moved through the veil
It still floated in my mind after waking
And the loss of this will surely be
My Ache and my Longing
For the many years of momentary trial.

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