Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Bill

My friend Ellie's husband Bill's birthday was today. I never got to meet him as he passed away 3 years ago. But Ellie invited me to come with her and our friend Phil out to the cemetery in Brooklyn for a birthday visit. I was so pleased to be there with them.

Ellie's family has two mausoleums out there. One on her dad's side and one on her mom's. Her family goes way back in New York and I got to be meet all her relations! Frankly, it was very fun.

Ellie read Bill a poem that she reads to him every year. It was kind of perfect and lovely I thought. It is called Colours by Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko.

Ellie reads the poem. Phil stands by.

Colours - by Yevgeny Yevtushenko

When your face
appeared over my crumpled life
at first I understood
only the poverty of what I have.
Then its particular light
on woods, on rivers, on the sea,
became my beginning in the coloured world
in which I had not yet had my beginning.
I am so frightened, I am so frightened,
of the unexpected sunrise finishing,
of revelations
and tears and the excitement finishing.
I don't fight it, my love is this fear,
I nourish it who can nourish nothing,
love's slipshod watchman.
Fear hems me in.
I am conscious that these minutes are short
and that the colours in my eyes will vanish
when your face sets.

Translation from Russian © Robin Milner-Gulland and Peter Levi

Ellie's dad's "house."

The stained glass inside the mausoleum on Ellie's mother's side. Beautiful.

Ellie's mom's "house."
Fallen red leaves all over the cemetery. It was a very lovely and moving day to be here.

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