|Source unknown (possibly background fairy)|
With music, with books, with making, with people, places, things. Lately, I'm in a fiery clinch (yet again) with poetry. The death of Adrienne Rich accelerated this current conflagration. And from her work I turned again to Stanley Kunitz, Mary Oliver, Pablo Neruda, Sharon Olds, William Stafford (oh my beloved friend).
Here is a poem that plays over and over in my mind. Via 3Quarksdaily:
Maxine, back from a weekend with her boyfriend,
smiles like a big cat and says
that she's a conjugated verb.
She's been doing the direct object
with a second person pronoun named Phil,
and when she walks into the room,
some kind of light is coming from her head.
Even the geraniums look curious,
and the bees, if they were here, would buzz
suspiciously around her hair, looking
for the door in her corona.
We're all attracted to the perfume
of fermenting joy,
we've all tried to start a fire,
and one day maybe it will blaze up on its own.
In the meantime, she is the one today among us
most able to bear the idea of her own beauty,
and when we see it, what we do is natural:
we take our burned hands
out of our pockets,
by Tony Hoagland
from Donkey Gospel, 1998
Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minn.
Lest you think I am flighty or fickle with all this constant falling (I can assure you my loves endure), I offer this as explanation - I listen to wise people and I try and try and try:
“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
~ Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum