The waiter said, "We have created and printed a special menu for you."
Later I saw that he had pinned one onto a board and framed it in his own hand with coki hearts and curlicues.
Guests arrived, including some who had travelled far that day, and the reading began. The rain that had threatened to fall, restrained itself. No thunder disturbed the quiet event.
The gardener, whom I had invited, came on foot.
"I want to walk," he had said, when we'd passed by car and offered him a lift.
He sat all by himself: solitary and composed. When he had finished his meal, he rose and came over to thank me, before leaving.
The others ate and talked together. The owner of the establishment bought one book for himself and one to donate to the library. He asked me to inscribe it: To the people of Hogsback.
Back home, a poem appeared:
After the launch
We sit in the courtyard,
wind hisses through
the oak trees' leaves,
our voices lift and fall,
soft and full,
mingling for an evening
I also received a few kind messages, from dear friends, after the event:
"Beautiful evening ...
You sat in your chair like a queen:
Reigning over words
"A lovely evening well-spent indeed. Thank you for the gift of the evening, and for the gift of your poetry."
"It was indeed an evening well spent! You managed the evening with style and warmth that we all could take into our beings forever with no sense of farewell."
Indeed. My heart carries all this wherever I go.