There’s a quote from Lincoln Steffens, “I have seen the future and it works.” He said it after a visit to Russia in 1919. Steffens’ enthusiasm for the Soviet form of government did not last, however, and by the time he wrote his memoirs ten years later he was disillusioned with communism.
Anyway, I was walking around in the back yard this morning, a nice thing to do around 8:30 when my son gets fussy but isn’t quite convinced that it’s time to take a nap, and I noticed this big bush with little red flowers hanging off of it. It looked like fuschia that hadn’t quite bloomed yet, and I was reminded of a line from a poem by James Merrill. I went to see him read in a community center in Connecticut about fifteen years ago. He was a dapper man and very eloquent, and he read one poem (I haven’t been able to find it, but I’m still looking) and he gets to this line where he describes someone looking out at a garden and the person says, “I have seen the fuschia, and it works.”
I e-mailed my landlady (who lives right downstairs, I love e-mailing people who are, like, ten feet away) and she said she thought the bush was Chinese lantern.