and you a woman who loves the man who runs a drug store.
I don’t care like I used to; I lay bricks straighter than I
used to and I sing slower handling the trowel afternoons.
When the sun is in my eyes and the ladders are shaky and the
mortar boards go wrong, I think of you.
To me, it’s something like this that has rendered the let-me-tell-you-how-beautiful-you-are-and-how-much-I-want-you type of romantic poem insipid and banal. Any literate straight man can say nice things about the appearance of a woman he lusts after or loves — some more eloquently than others. But it takes a special kind of man to realize and put into simple yet powerful words the kind of love that results in such inner tranquility and joy.
Sandburg speaks of a woman, apparently out of his league, the love for whom has caused him to grow out of the childish desire to possess someone and put him in a place where the loving thought of her is … enough. He doesn’t care any longer whether he can be with her. The thought of her has made him better at what he does. Even the most mundane of tasks all of a sudden becomes pleasurable. And when things go wrong, it’s also the thought of her that saves the day.
Women are portrayed as objects of desire all the time. Rarely is any of them spoken of — as this one here — as someone the mere thought of whom causes maturity, serenity, contentment, and peace in the heart of a man.
N.B. Carl Sandburg grew up very poor, and at one point in his youth he was indeed a bricklayer. Read Sandburg’s biography here.
Notice how easy it is to remember the weight measurements of the ingredients in this dense, moist, and flavorful bars.
White Chocolate-Almond-Lime Pavés
(Makes one 8×8 pan)
1/2 cup (115 g) butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats
3/4 cup (115 g) good-quality white chocolate chips
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (115 g) sugar
1/2 cup minus 2 tablespoons (115 g) whole milk
1 1/3 cup (115 g) almond meal
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of one lime
Powdered sugar for dusting, optional