06.4.2012

The Heights and the Grange

It was only when the credits started to climb the screen
that we realized the show was really over, that the blond
boy would remain forever on the shore against
the sunset, his true love always out of reach. For my part
I wanted a simpler ending, one more conventionally “happy” –
a wedding even, though I know you snort
with a kind of superior contempt at those things.
It was time for dinner anyway, light dishes
for a warm July evening: asparagus and trout,
perhaps, and of course a salad. Watching a lover
move around the kitchen in the twilight,
before one turns on the lights, is comfortable,
like settling into a favorite chair with a book –
a novel maybe, just on the verge of trashy –
you’ve read a couple of times before. The protagonist
is darkly handsome, he has trouble keeping his hair
out of his eyes, doesn’t know which of the women
throwing themselves his way actually loves him
for who he is, rather than for his unaccountable millions,
houses and steam-yachts and so forth.
He likes the red-haired one, but worries her pre-Raphaelite
mane is the sign of some kind of wildness – you know,
the sort of woman who’ll break dishes in a rage,
maybe even slash the tires of his car. For her part
she doesn’t know who her parents were, grew up
in an orphanage with stern but kindly nurses,
tried to keep out of the way of the priest
with the suspicious gleam in his little piggy eyes.
The twilight is all salmon behind the picture window
which frames the trees, the lawn, the street and a couple
of street-lamps into – well – a picture. I considered the relation
of landscape painting, the seeing requisite to paint
a landscape, or rather, to frame it rightly, to the art
of landscaping, moving all those trucks and wheelbarrows
of earth, planting and mulching and nurturing shrubs
and trees, hedges and an occasional flower. All behind glass,
the vast incline of the lawn. We can’t see Catherine, Linton,
or even the gormless Hareton; perhaps they’re behind
the ha-ha, fumbling at each other’s drawers in the gloaming.

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