After dark vapours have oppress’d our plains
For a long dreary season, comes a day
Born of the gentle South, and clears away
From the sick heavens all unseemly stains.
The anxious month, relieved of its pains,
Takes as a long-lost right the feel of May;
The eyelids with the passing coolness play
Like rose leaves with the drip of Summer rains.
The calmest thoughts come round us; as of leaves
Budding – fruit ripening in stillness – Autumn suns
Smiling at eve upon the quiet sheaves –
Sweet Sappho’s cheek – a smiling infant’s breath –
The gradual sand that through an hour-glass runs –
A woodland rivulet – a Poet’s death. – –
That’s actually Keats, but it’ll do for me too. I think Julia would have liked it; it carries that same gently elegiac tone that she found in her own later work, and perhaps in her later life also. I was listening to the radio in the bath tonight, thinking about Julia, and heard this; and I’m not sure how many times I e-mailed Julia to say ‘Hey, I was listening to the radio in the bath, and I heard you,’ or some piece of hers, or something that would have interested or amused her. It doesn’t stop, because she goes away; you only lose the chance to tell her so. One last time, then…