Charler Simic in the New York Review of Books:

PAR92257_jpg_470x494_q85What kind of birdie are you? Whistling outside my window as if a pretty girl was passing by?

A wind so mild this afternoon it touches our faces as we lie in the shade like little children going to sleep.

This must be a very important fly that has just flown into my room. It’s bigger than others, has a loud buzz as if accustomed to having its wishes obeyed. Instead of pastries and other dainties, all it finds on my table and floor are closed and open books, whose titles it inspects on the run and unimpressed flies out of the window.

Are rocking chairs in this country, I’m asking myself, being rocked on summer evenings as much as they once were? Or do they stand abandoned and motionless on dark porches across the land, now that their elderly owners tend to relieve their boredom by sitting in front of their computers?

“If God had been here this summer, and seen the things that I have seen—I guess that He would think His Paradise superfluous,” writes Emily Dickinson in a letter from 1856. I wish we could brag in similar fashion about our summer this year, but there has been too much rain.

To my great regret, I no longer know how to be lazy, and summer is no fun without sloth. Indolence requires patience—to lie in the sun, for instance, day after day—and I have none left. When I could, it was bliss. I lived liked the old Greeks, who knew nothing of hours, minutes, and seconds. No wonder they did so much thinking back then. When Socrates staggered home late after a day of philosophizing with Plato, his bad-tempered wife Xantippe could not point to a clock on the wall as she started chewing him out.

In my youth, I had a reputation of being extraordinarily lazy. My fame extended beyond our neighborhood. When my name was mentioned, my teachers in school used to roll their eyes and cross themselves. My mother could not agree more. She’d tell about the day I started for school wearing just one shoe, and when I realized my mistake, instead of going back home to get the other, I stayed where I was in the street watching a piano being lifted to several stories up to some apartment, till I was late for school.

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