Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Limoni

Oliver's text to me this morning
I'm in blue and he's in yellow.

Oliver squeezed lemons again this morning and assembled his lemonade stand at the corner of our street. Today's proceeds went, in part, to the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles. which is our way to make quite literal lemonade out of lemons. Sophie is struggling with near constant seizures these days, and I'm willfully stoic in my witness. This doesn't mean I don't die a bit inside at every bad day. Sophie's eyes implore, and it's a chip chip chipping away at the larger than life-sized boulder that is moi. This afternoon, both Henry and Oliver participated as volunteers with a baseball team made up of kids with special needs. Sophie and I sat in the bleachers with a couple of friends and cheered the kids on. I felt a supreme lassitude, which I imagine is due to the years I've spent in Seizure Land. Some days it's like that, more lemons than lemonade. The weird thing is that I adore lemons and don't particularly like lemonade.

The Lemon Trees

Listen, the poets laureate
walk only among plants of unfamiliar name: boxwood, acanthus;
I, for my part, prefer the streets that fade
to grassy ditches where a boy
hunting the half-dried puddles
sometimes scoops up a meager eel;
the little paths that wind along the slopes,
plunge down among the cane-tufts,
and break into the orchards, among trunks
     of the lemon-trees.
Better if the jubilee of birds
is quenched, swallowed entirely in the blue:
more clear to the listener murmur of friendly
in air that scarcely moves,
that fills the senses with this odor
inseparable from earth,
and rains an unquiet sweetness in the breast.
Here by a miracle is hushed
the war of the diverted passions,
here even to us poor falls our share of riches,
and it is the scent of the lemon-trees.

See, in these silences
in which things yield and seem
about to betray their ultimate secret,
sometimes one half expects
to discover a mistake of Nature,
the dead point of the world, the link which
     will not hold,
the thread to disentangle which might set us 
     at last
in the midst of a truth.
The eyes cast round,
the mind seeks harmonizes disunites
in the perfume that expands
when day most languishes.
Silences in which one sees 
in each departing human shadow
some dislodged Divinity.
But the illusion wanes and time returns us
to our clamorous cities where the blue
only in patches, high up, among the gables.
Then rain falls wearying the earth,
the winter tedium weighs on the roofs,
the light grows miserly, bitter the soul.
When one day through a half-shut gate,
among the leafage of a court
the yellows of the lemon blaze
and the heart's ice melts
and songs 
pour into the breast
from golden trumpets of solarity.

Eugenio Montale, Selected Poems


  1. There is no fruit as light-filled and bright as a lemon.

  2. Lemon tree very pretty
    And the lemon flower is sweet
    But the fruit of the poor lemon
    Is impossible to eat

  3. Hi Elizabeth, I have been following your blog for about a year now. I have learned so much from you. My son Austin has severe brain injury due to a Vitamin K Deficiency Bleed at 5 weeks of age. He is now 9 years old but developmentally like a 3 to 6 month old. He is total care, nonmobile and nonverbal but makes many sounds and facial expressions. Today he is a happy child but it's been a long journey. We too struggle with the seizure monster. I did not think he would ever have any type of control. But currently he is only having seizures about 2 to 3 times per month. Knock on wood. Probably bad to say that. LOL. Anyway I know you have done so much to help Sophie but I wanted to share what has helped us. You have probably already tired but just in case. The first thing nutritionally that has helped Austin is higher dose magnesium (you can even get magnesium oil to apply to skin) and Vitamin B6. I think those two have helped more than any other nutrients. But I also give him a mostly organic diet. I often give him bee pollen (it contains all the B vitamins etc.), fermented cod liver oil, and coconut oil. I have recently been told of children who are given about a tablespoon of coconut oil once to twice a day and its helping with seizures. As far as meds, Austin is currently on Onfi and Felbatol and the combo seems to work well for him. He also has the VNS. You probably have already tried these things but I just wanted to share about us. I am rooting for you and Sophie and hope she gets to try the medical marijuana soon. I live in MO so no chance of that for us anytime soon. Thanks for your blog!!

  4. so sorry to read about all the seizures Sophie is having.
    PS did you bring him the calculator? :)

  5. What a profoundly fine poem from a poet I was unacquainted with. Thank you!
    I hope things get better for Sophie soon. Sending love.

  6. Oh, the fact that our children can text us to summon our presence whenever they want. It truly is a mad world, isn't it? Glad the lemonade stand is going well, but I'm sorry to hear about Sophie's struggles. Thinking about you all every day.



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