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Archive for June, 2011

poem is on brick walkway near yellow sculpture

I Sit and Look Out

by Walt Whitman

 

I SIT and look out upon all the sorrows of the world, and upon all oppression and shame;

I hear secret convulsive sobs from young men, at anguish with themselves, remorseful after deeds done;

I see, in low life, the mother misused by her children, dying, neglected, gaunt, desperate;

I see the wife misused by her husband—I see the treacherous seducer of young women;

I mark the ranklings of jealousy and unrequited love, attempted to be hid—I see these sights on the earth;

I see the workings of battle, pestilence, tyranny—I see martyrs and prisoners;

I observe a famine at sea—I observe the sailors casting lots who shall be kill’d, to preserve the lives of the rest;

I observe the slights and degradations cast by arrogant persons upon laborers, the poor, and upon negroes, and the like;

All these—All the meanness and agony without end, I sitting, look out upon,

See, hear, and am silent.

 

Walt Whitman reminds me of my husband’s beloved octogenarian aunt.  Let me be clear that Aunt Joann is beardless and her sense of propriety prevents her from singing the body electric, at least in public.  But like Whitman, she’s relevant.   Her manners, language and habits may be of a different time, but she lives, vibrantly lives, in 2011.

 

Over 100 years after his death, Whitman is perhaps more relevant than any poet living today.  What other poet has his own Levi commercial and had a supporting role in a recent presidential scandal?

 

Speaking of scandals, “I Sit and Look Out” strikes me as a poem written by someone who’s been reading a lot of In Touch magazines at the grocery check-out.  Present-day examples abound to match his depressing litany of meanness and agony without end:

Convulsive sobs from young men at anguish with themselves—Anthony Weiner, Mark Sanford.

Mother misused by her children, dying, neglected—Brooke Astor.

Wife misused by her husband—Maria Shriver et al.

Treacherous seducer of young women (let’s call a rapist a rapist)–Dominique Strauss Kahn

And so on.  The only image I can’t fit to our times is the famine at sea, and a little poking around on the web hasn’t yielded the historical reference.

 

Granted, my knowledge of Whitman is limited, but the poem seems unusually dark for him.  We think of Whitman recording America singing, not America abusing itself.  Part of the uncharacteristic heaviness of the poem is that there is no call to redress the wrongs, no resolve to help the victims, no retreat to nature as an antidote to man-made evils.  The poet just sits and observes, an indifferent god or one who feels but does not intervene.

 

Furthermore, the poet seems as fascinated by his own act of observing as by what he observes.  I sit are the first two words of the poem and the second to last line is syntactically twisted to emphasize his seated posture:  I sitting, look out upon.

 

Is he paralyzed by the inhumanity, overwhelmed?  Is the “I” communal?  Is he including his readers in the guilt of inaction, of seeing and hearing but remaining silent?  Is he giving a job description for writers? Is this what poets and writers do, observe and report?  Whitman did work as a journalist for much of his life.

 

Or was he intent on not boasting of his good deeds?  Because Whitman did act.  Throughout his life, he sent what little money he had to those with none, and during the Civil War he served as a volunteer nurse.   Here’s an excerpt from his poem “The Wound Dresser”:

I onward go, I stop,           

With hinged knees and steady hand to dress wounds,           

I am firm with each, the pangs are sharp yet unavoidable,           

One turns to me his appealing eyes—poor boy! I never knew you,           

Yet I think I could not refuse this moment to die for you, if that would save you.           

This is the kind of compassion that earned Whitman the title “American Jesus.”

 

I posted this above a metro stop in Bethesda, a few blocks from the site of the horrific Lululemon murder. I was visiting my mother, another vibrant octogenerian, and rolled my suitcase around downtown Bethesda as I waited for her to pick me up.  Sitting outside a bagel shop, I listened, very Whitman-like, to young men inside argue about the Arab-Israeli conflict.  I watched as a homeless man approached a very large French couple a few benches down from me.  They pretended they didn’t understand what he was asking for.  (Do they not have homeless people in France?  Or do unshowered, bedraggled men with opened palms often approach strangers in their country merely to ask for directions or a book recommendation?)  I was up from the bench to help but a young girl reached the homeless man before I did.

 

“Hey, Warren, do you remember me?” she asked.  “I walked by you last week and you asked me for help and I felt really bad that I only had a dollar to give you.  So here,” she said, and she pressed a folded-up $20 bill into his hand.  They embraced.

 

Then I walked down the street and saw this over the temporarily closed Lululemon store:

 

A few days ago the shop re-opened with a beautiful stained glass window “love” above the store.  So it’s a like a church now, a church built on the remains of a martyr or a church that marks ground for love and not for evil.

 

A sign doesn’t stop evil, just as a poem doesn’t end meanness and agony, just as $20 doesn’t give a man a home. Love is just the only viable response.

 

Walt Whitman sure has a lot of laudatory titles :  “poet of democracy,”  he’s called, “father of free verse,” “America’s poet,” to name a few.  Critic Harold Bloom proclaimed Whitman’s importance in his introduction to the 150th anniversary edition of Leaves of Grass:

“If you are American, then Walt Whitman is your imaginative father and mother, even if, like myself, you have never composed a line of verse. You can nominate a fair number of literary works as candidates for the secular Scripture of the United States. They might include Melville’s Moby-Dick, Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Emerson’s two series of Essays and The Conduct of Life. None of those, not even Emerson’s, are as central as the first edition of Leaves of Grass.”

 

Whitman seems particularly popular these days on the internet with artists, students, musicians, and aspiring filmmakers.  Hundred of youtube videos exist featuring Whitman’s poems, but I like this one of playwright and performer John O’Keefe reading an excerpt from “Song of Myself.”  The man’s perspiration is alarming, but you get a great sense of Whitman’s exhuberance, his rhythm and musicality.

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Worse than delivering a joke that falls flat is delivering a present that offends.  Offensive presents induce not just embarrassment but guilt as well, a guilt that can flame up and redden cheeks even years after.  Once I spearheaded a group gift of an adult tricycle for my mother, who was less ready to give up a two-wheeler than I had supposed.  She never said so, but she must have found the tricycle as infantilizing as adult diapers.  Which for the record I have never given anyone.  (Also for the record, Eat This, Not That makes a very bad gift unless specifically requested.)

from Olausen's book, Mother

 

Longer ago I gave a friend turning 30 a coffee table book called Mother.  I thought the book was brilliant and hilarious.  Somehow it didn’t occur to me that a photograph of an elderly woman walking through the grocery store carrying a crucifix would not amuse someone with a conservative faith who values reverence.  Nice book, was all she said.

 

Unfortunately, old faults die hard.  A month before my nephew’s wedding, I sent him the following poem via email:

 

I Married You

by Linda Pastan

 

I married you

for all the wrong reasons,

charmed by your

dangerous family history,

by the innocent muscles, bulging

like hidden weapons

under your shirt,

by your naive ties, the colors

of painted scraps of sunset.

 

I was charmed too

by your assumptions

about me: my serenity—

that mirror waiting to be cracked,

my flashy acrobatics with knives

in the kitchen.

How wrong we both were

about each other,

and how happy we have been.

 

I was surprised to get back a response along the lines of, “Thanks for thinking of me, but this really doesn’t apply to us.”  I was baffled.  I thought the poem was so hopeful and sweet, such a good omen for his upcoming nuptials.  Why wouldn’t he?

 

My sister suggested that maybe he found the poem offensive.  A conversation with my nephew at his wedding confirmed my sister’s view, although Beau insisted that he wasn’t offended, he just didn’t get it.  But when pressed, he admitted that, to him, my sending I Married You was tantamount to saying he and his fiancé were getting married for superficial reasons.

 

Yeah, he’s right.  I was reading the poem as a long-married person.  My take-away from this poem is how happy we have been.  For him it’s I married you/for all the wrong reasons.  My nephew is one-half a couple that have been together for a long time, so they know each other well enough to have moved beyond the type of initial impressions outlined in the poem.

 

By way of apology, I’ll try to explain myself:  for me the poem says that marriage is a long process of partners discovering each other.   Accepting and loving those things  we discover in the ensuing years–traits and interests that didn’t register with us at the beginning or that developed over time–is the beauty of commitment.  Also, the outward characteristics that initially attracted partners to each other—bulging muscles, a cooking hobby, a calm demeanor—can change, but the truth of a person remains the same.  When selecting a lifetime mate we unconsciously recognize these deeper truths, and if we’re lucky, those truths are ones we need and admire.

 

This is not a poem to send to a newly engaged or married couple.  It’s like giving new parents a book on teenagers and gonorrhea and expecting them to thank you for it.  Well, not exactly, but you get my contrition.

 

I’ll save this poem for anniversaries.  But now that I think about it, maybe really happy ones only.

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poem is in lower right corner between booth and window

(Poem #1437) My Father

by Yehuda Amichai

 

The memory of my father is wrapped up in

white paper, like sandwiches taken for a day at work.

 

Just as a magician takes towers and rabbits

out of his hat, he drew love from his small body,

 

and the rivers of his hands

overflowed with good deeds.

 

What an intimate portrait Yehuda Amichai draws of his father in a mere six lines.  Except for the mention of his father’s small stature, the picture is all drawn indirectly, through association and inference.  His father, we learn, was a little man, a working man, a modest man who packed a lunch for the day, and most importantly, a kind man.

 

The poem almost seems like the memory of a little boy watching his father go to work, thinking his father magical as many children do.  The poet unwraps this package of memory, a memory held in paper, like his poem.  I remember being entranced when I learned how to wrap sandwiches in waxed paper, folding the sides back and forth together accordion-style, and tucking under the ends.  When a sandwich is wrapped this way, unwrapping takes as much care as wrapping; the process must be reversed.  Just so, time must be reversed for memories to come alive. Amichai discussed this notion of time and memory in a 1989 interview in the Paris Review:  “It’s easy for me to shortcut back to my childhood, my adolescence, my wars. It’s actually a very Jewish sense of time, out of the Talmud. There’s a Talmudic saying that there’s nothing early or late in the Bible, which means that everything—all events—are ever present, that the past and future converge on the present, especially in language.”

 

Yehuda Amachai was born in Germany in 1924.  His entire family emigrated to Palestine when Hitler was coming to power, and so they all escaped the Holocaust.  He fought in four wars–World War II and the Israeli wars of independence—though he abhorred violence. Politically active, he enjoyed movie-star status in Jerusalem, where he lived until he died in 2000.

 

Amichai wrote in colloquial Hebrew, which was revolutionary for his time.  His reputation for wordplay is something that can’t be captured in translation, and after reading how inventive he is with the Hebrew language, I’m disappointed that I can’t experience a true reading of his poems.  But what I can read is still pretty darn good.

 

The poem seems at first to be a haphazard collection of images, but actually the poet has focused the reader’s attention by stealth on his father’s hands. The sandwich must be wrapped, and then opened, and then consumed by hands; the magician pulls rabbits out of the hat with his hands; “he drew love from his small body” is an action we visualize being done with hands. And so at the end of the poem when the father’s hands become overflowing rivers, the progression seems logical even if we aren’t aware of the logic.  Hands are particularly important in this poem because hands are so often the instruments of kindness.

 

My husband and I used to keep a list we called “Sweet Men,” which was composed of kind men we knew with gentle spirits.  Amichai’s father would surely make the list.  But why not “Sweet Women”?  Because kindness in women, while beautiful, is not necessarily surprising.  Kindness in men, God forgive my sexist soul, delights me.  I keep another list of my own, a secret list of kindnesses various men have done for me.  It’s a list I love.

 

Which brings me to Father’s Day.  It’s wonderful for fathers to give children opportunities, material goods and memorable vacations, but showing children kindness in action is the most lasting gift.  And what would a child value most:  a father’s intelligence, his charm, his success or his kindness?  The answer reminds me of a framed piece of needlework I keep in my laundry room:  “What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?”  And also the oft-quoted lines from Wordsworth:

 

That best portion of a good man’s life,

His little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.

 

Amichai’s poem surprised me because it’s given me a way of connecting my father and father-in-law, both gone now.  They were very different men with entirely different strengths and weaknesses.  But I honor both as men who were kind.

 

My father was a sometimes difficult man, a man the mailman once complained to my mother as having “the tact of a herd of elephants.”  But under his bluster was a compassion he acted upon again and again, and those are the family stories we treasure.  A Denver boy, he saw his first homeless person (in those days called a bum) on a trip to New York City, and tried to lift the man out of the gutter, quite literally.  On leave, he refused to sleep at a hotel that denied entry to a black man under his command.    He always kept a collection box in the front hall for everyone in the family to give change for the poor.  He was a great sender of cards, flowers, thoughtful letters and inscribed books. One of my most poignant memories is of him, in his late old age, apologizing to me for something he had said that had made me cry.  It takes a kind-hearted man to issue the gentle apology he gave to me that day.

 

My father-in-law was 50’s kind of man, a bachelor type who happened to get married and have children.  For most of his life he had a pronounced distaste for emotional displays, but as he aged it became clear that his avoidance of emotion masked a tender and kind heart. So many occasions he showed kindness to me, and not just in difficult times when my need for it was obvious.  No matter what was going on in his own life, he always had a kind word and welcoming expression for me.  His kindness forms the theme of several personal stories which I won’t relate here, except to say that his sweetness, tact and calm presence sit in my heart like a small paradise.

 

I must mention also my husband who I will embarrass by extolling his kind nature and describing a quality of his that irritates and pleases me equally:  that is, he is unskilled and unpracticed in extricating himself from deadly conversations with people who won’t stop talking.  This is on purpose, I recently found out.  Some people, he explained to me, always get pushed away by others because of their excessive talking.  He chooses to listen instead of looking for an exit.  “They must really have a need to talk,” he says.  What a man my man is!

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, especially the kind ones.

 

 

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poem is on lower left window pane

 

This Marriage – Ode 2667

by Rumi

May these vows and this marriage be blessed.

May it be sweet milk,

this marriage, like wine and halvah.

May this marriage offer fruit and shade

like the date palm.

May this marriage be full of laughter,

our every day a day in paradise.

May this marriage be a sign of compassion,

a seal of happiness here and hereafter.

May this marriage have a fair face and a good name,

an omen as welcome

as the moon in a clear blue sky.

I am out of words to describe

how spirit mingles in this marriage.

 

 

A very urban, very cool San Diego couple weds on a farm in Minnesota and Poem Elf is invited.  The question isn’t so much what to wear (wedges and flats for all, fascinators and Stingy Bogarts for hipsters only), but what poem to bring.  Weeks earlier on a whim I had sent a poem to the groom, my nephew.  “I didn’t get it,” was his polite way of saying “Thanks, but no thanks.”  (I’ll post on that next week.)  So I thought I’d play it safe with something by Rumi.

 

Rumi, a 13th century poet virtually unknown in this country 20 years ago and now the most popular poet in America (sorry, Billy Collins), is a poet I have avoided until recently when he was listed on cultural critic Dean Radar’s list of the top ten poets of all time.  I’ve been wary of him because he’s a little too unstructured for my taste and overly emotional, which made me wonder how serious a poet he was, and besides, I resented the shelf space he’s given in the poetry sections of most bookstores.

 

But as usual, the more time I spend with a poem, the more I like it; and the more I think about the connection between poem and location, the more reasons I find for the match.  So in spite of the fact that Rumi was a practicing Sufi (a mystical branch of Islam) born in what is now modern day Afghanistan, and this was a 21st century wedding in America’s heartland officiated by a minister, the poem and the wedding share common ground.  For one thing, “This Marriage” uses images from the earth to bless and describe a new marriage, which makes it an appropriate choice for a wedding that made much use of natural settings.  The ceremony was held outside, the guitarist sat on a haystack, the floor of the dining tent was grass, and the backdrop for every picture was rolling hills and country roads.

 

The poem quietly moves from day (the shade of the date palm is presumably from the sun) to night, just as the wedding floated from cocktails in the late afternoon to late-night dancing upstairs in a barn fitted with large windows that looked out on moonlit fields.

 

In Rumi’s poem the groom blesses his own marriage.  He slips from the impersonal this marriage to the more intimate our. Then he reverts to this marriage, as if it were someone else’s marriage, until emotion seems to overtake him and he opens up to I in the last few lines.  At the Minnesota ceremony, the rings were passed from guest to guest to be blessed, and when at last they reached the minister, the bride and groom exchanged vows, very tender expressions of love and commitment.  The moment was so intimate that I had the sense of the couple being torn open from stem to stern for all of us to gape and gawk at their interiors.

 

Right after the ceremony I had a lovely moment with my nephew.  He was sitting alone on a bench while his new wife was occupied with bridesmaids and the photographer.  “Come over,” he called to me. I was pleasantly surprised and flattered that he wanted my company but also touched in my auntily fashion at his demeanor.  He looked stunned.  Clearly he was still processing what just happened.

 

Of all the unforgettable moments of the day, the vision of him sitting on the whitewashed bench stands out.  A man overwhelmed by love.

 

In our brief time before the photographer (who we later found out was an excellent dancer) called him away, we discussed how he had publicly declared the deepest, most intimate feelings a man could have, and the joy he felt in doing so.  “I almost have a headache from feeling so much happiness,” he told me.

 

That’s exactly what happens at the end of this poem.  After twelve lines rhapsodizing about the marriage, the poet is overwhelmed by love and is rendered speechless:

I am out of words to describe

how spirit mingles in this marriage

 

It’s very different from the “Song of Songs,” which speaks more about the body and physical desires.  “This Marriage” is all about spirit, and (like the “Song of Songs”) may be an allegory for union with the divine.

 

If my favorite image of the wedding is of my nephew dazed on the bench, my favorite image in this poem is that of the date palm:

May this marriage offer fruit and shade

like the date palm

 

I love that, fruit and shade:  marriage as a refuge from heat, and as a source of sweetness and nutrition.  Fruit, of course, is also an image of fertility and abundance, an idea suggested earlier in the poem by sweet milk.

 

Rumi, born to a wealthy family in 1207, eventually settled in modern day Turkey.  He wrote over 70,000 verses in 25 years or, as I figure, about 7 ½ poems every day.  A religious figure, he is considered a Muslim saint.  His staying power comes not only from the beauty and emotional expressiveness of his poems, but his teachings of tolerance and peace.  He’s such towering figure of interfaith unity that Pope John XXIII was moved to say in 1958, “In the name of the Catholic World, I bow with respect before the memory of Rumi.”

 

A pretty good omen for the joining of two people, that Rumi.  Or in Rumi’s own words,

an omen as welcome

as the moon in a clear blue sky

 

which is exactly what I saw when at the end of the night I left the barn and looked up to take in the view.

Poem Elf's turn to bless

 

Fyi:  Halvah is a middle-eastern sweet.  Sweet milk means milk unsoured, or in other words, fresh milk.  

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Per my last post, the last few paragraphs, which you may have skipped:

 

As the sole originator (and unfortunately the sole practitioner) of National It’s High Time to Buy a Book of Poetry Couple of Days (hereafter known as NIHTT—BABOP—COD), it’s my right to announce that the Couple of Days is not over yet; and my duty to urge you to celebrate NIHTT—BABOP—COD by doing so.  A few reasons and a few suggestions to follow.

billclinton-young4.jpg

I celebrate myself, and sing myself

 

A book of poetry, I repeat, makes a great gift.  Bill Clinton, fond of presenting friends and lovers with Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, would have gone down in the annals of great gift-givers had not he given the same thoughtful, and in his mind erotic, gift to his wife and his intern.  But usually giving books of poetry will not land you in any trouble at all, in fact may aid you in your romantic endeavors (Keats’ sonnets) or solidify friendships (the amusing Unleashed: Poems by Writers’ Dogs for your pooch-loving pal).  Books of poetry are personal, intimate, and say to the recipient in a way that no other gift does except slide ruler, I think you’re really intelligent.  What’s not to love about a gift like that?

 

But to really celebrate NIHTT—BABOP–COD, you need to buy poetry for yourself.  Poetry can be read in snatches, so it’s the perfect reading material for all the in-between times in your life, when you’re sitting on the toilet, idling in the carpool line, waiting at the doctor’s office, commuting (if you’re lucky enough to live in a city with public transportation or if the red lights in your town are inordinately long), watching the pasta pot, or trying to fall asleep at night.

 

I’m not saying poetry doesn’t deserve serious attention or a dedicated reading session.  It’s just that most people reading this blog aren’t poets themselves or writing term papers and so won’t devote much time to it.  And you don’t have to.  Reading poetry can be like eating a granola bar—a quick break from running around, just enough calories to tide you over till the next meal, and a little fiber so you can continue your reading later in the loo.  (Yes, I am scatologically oriented, and I don’t apologize for it.  So much great reading happens on the toilet.)

 

So what to buy?  I have a few ideas, but bear in mind, my suggestions are based on the assumption that you haven’t bought poetry before and don’t know where to start.

 

If you want a book for your coffee table or bathroom, anthologies are a good way to go.

  • Any of the 3 volumes of Poem a Day.  (The first has the most familiar material.)  365 poems, mostly short, across a wide range of poets, styles and forms.
  • Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems series: the original, plus Good Poems for Hard Times, and Good Poems American Places (which would be a great bon voyage gift for someone travelling across the country).  Keillor also has a website on which you can hear him read a poem everyday.
  • Poetry 180 and its follow-up 180 More Extraordinary Poems for Every Day edited by Billy Collins.
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art has created beautiful illustrated anthologies of poems sorted according to theme.  Part of the pleasure of these books is figuring out why the editors matched each poem to the accompanying work of art.  I have two of them:  Art and Love and Time’s River.  The others, which I hope to get as gifts myself (this is a big hint, family) are Art and Nature, Art and Wonder, and a children’s book Talking to the Sun.  Wonderful.

 

If you want more from a particular poet, buy a collection of his or her poems.  Collections usually have more artistic covers than anthologies and are slim enough to fit in your purse.

  • Jane Kenyon’s Otherwise.  Short, lovely poems, meditations rooted in the practicalities of her rural life.  I love her poems on depression and illness, but this is a joyful collection, not a downer at all.
  • For the spiritually minded, anything by Mary Oliver or Anne Porter.
  • Billy Collins is always entertaining, great for novices, but bears close reading too.
  • I’d be remiss if I didn’t put in a plug for a Michigan poet.  Thomas Lynch is Irish and works as an undertaker.  Enough said.

    Thomas Lynch

  • Yeats.  You’ve got to have Yeats around.

 

Go forth and purchase!

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A few weeks ago blogger Megan Shaffer of Night Light Revue asked me to review Michigan poet Michael Heffernan’s new poetry collection At the Bureau of Divine Music.  You can read my review here.

 

(A word about Night Light Revue:  if you’re looking for summer reading material, Shaffer always has excellent suggestions.  She’s also a passionate promoter of Michigan writers and the local literary community.)

 

I’m grateful for the review assignment because I loved the book and probably would never have found it on my own.  Or stuck with it.  While the book houses plenty of poems that can be digested on a first reading and some mighty entertaining monologues that read like short stories, some of the poems were difficult.  And because I was tasked with reviewing the whole book and not just the “easy” poems, I had to read what I usually would skip over.  Slacker that I am, I’m drawn to poems that don’t initially require much effort, and some of Heffernan’s poems required not just effort, but commitment.  But the payoff, as with any long-term relationship, was huge.

 

Reading poetry, I’ve found over this past year of blogging, is a completely different reading experience than we get in school or on the beach.  Whereas a book of prose is read from beginning to end (or if you’re a cheat like me, beginning to end back to middle) and then shelved or returned to the library, books of poetry offer freedom from linear structure but demand more of your time.  You dip in at any point, you read, you don’t understand. You try a different poem.  You like it but you still don’t get it.  You re-read dozens of times.  You think about it while you’re walking the dog and fall asleep with a line in your head.  What does it mean?  Why does it affect me like this?  Why can’t I just end the relationship and forget about it?  Reading poetry requires an imaginative leap and a commitment of time we aren’t accustomed to with our steady diet of Janet Evanovich and girls with dragon tattoos and other distinguishing features.

 

Just to give you a taste of Heffernan’s work, I’ll post the last poem in At the Bureau of Divine Music.  It’s a sonnet that I kept thinking about weeks after I read it, experiencing as I do many unnecessary anxieties about my health:

 

Awake

by Michael Heffernan

 

I lay down in my bed and went to sleep

but only after worrying that the pain

that came up in my chest, seemingly deep

inside it where my heart was, was a plain

signal that I might not survive the night

and could be lying cold beside my wife

when she got up, as she does, with the light,

to start another day in her own life,

while mine was over, unbeknown to us,

including me.  As I was worrying,

I went to sleep and woke up in four hours

to use the bathroom.  Birds had begun to sing.

Two dogs were barking.  Nothing perilous

had come to find us.  What was ours was ours.

 

What was ours was ours is my new anti-anxiety mantra.

 

On a side note, why not buy a book of poetry?  Poetry makes a beautiful, thoughtful gift and looks impressive in guest bathrooms.  The covers are usually arresting and artistic, and visitors will flush your toilet musing over what an interesting person you are and marveling over your previously unknown complicated interior life.

 

And so I hereby proclaim the next few days National It’s High Time to Buy a Book of Poetry Couple of Days.  And remember, as Night Light Revue blogger Megan Shaffer always says, Support your local bookstores, libraries and universities.  It matters!

 

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