Wednesday, October 12, 2011
(Waiting for an Answer by Winslow Homer, 1836-1910,
“Elizabeth’s spirits soon rising to playfulness again, she wanted Mr. Darcy to account for his having ever fallen in love with her.
“‘How could you begin?’ said she. ‘I can comprehend your going on charmingly, when you had once made a beginning; but what could set you off in the first place?’
“‘I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.’”
~ Jane Austen, from Pride and Prejudice
Years later they find themselves talking
about chances, moments when their lives
might have swerved off
for the smallest reason.
I hadn’t phoned, he says, that morning?
What if you’d been out,
as you were when I tried three times
the night before?
Then she tells him a secret.
She’d been there all evening, and she knew
he was the one calling, which was why
she hadn’t answered.
Because she felt —
because she was certain — her life would change
if she picked up the phone, said hello,
said I was just thinking
I was afraid,
she tells him. And in the morning
I also knew it was you, but I just
answered the phone
the way anyone
answers a phone when it starts to ring,
not thinking you have a choice.
~ Lawrence Raab, born in 1946, American poet and screenwriter