Sunday, May 28, 2006

Bea’s Books (1)

Books were always very important to Bea.

To ensure that we are able to recognize those she cared about, Bea got into the habit of scribbling notes on the first page of favorites and squirreling the books away on her shelf, sort of like sending out messages in a bottle for someone to find later on.

Today I hold one such book in my hand. It is a hardbound book of poetry, Ants on the Melon, by Virginia Hamilton Adair. Bea has written, “Beatrice Grabbe, early a friend of Virginia, across the street in Montclair where I also met Douglas. July, 1996.”

In the book, Bea stuck a review from the New York Times Book Review, diligently underlined.

A note from Bea's friend Laura Roper falls out. Bea must have written her about Nancy's passing: “That is indeed very saddening news, but hardly unexpected. Her last several years must have been very trying for her not withstanding Nick and Elspeth’s loving and constant care. I’ve been reading Virginia Adair’s poems and think they’re wonderful. Witty, philosophical, beautiful fresh use of language, altogether elegant ...”

Bea has checked off and Xed “An Hour to Dance” so I flip through to page 15.

For a while we whirled
Over the meadows of music
Our sadness put away in purses
Stuffed into old shoes or shawls

The children we never were
From cellars and closets
Attics and faded snapshots
Came out to leap for love
On the edge of an ocean of tears

Like a royal flotilla
Alice’s menagerie swam by
No tale is endless
The rabbit opened his watch
Muttering late, late
Time to grow


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