Remember This

W. S. Merwin, a formidable American poet who for more than 60 years labored under a formidable poetic yoke: the imperative of using language — an inescapably concrete presence on the printed page — to conjure absence, silence and nothingness, died on Friday…He was 91.

“It is as though the voice filters up to the reader like echoes from a very deep well, and yet it strikes his ear with a raw energy,” the poet and critic Laurence Lieberman wrote… He added: “The poems must be read very slowly, since most of their uncanny power is hidden in overtones that must be listened for in silences between lines, and still stranger silences within lines.”

W.S. Merwin, “Black Cherries”:

Late in May as the light lengthens
toward summer the young goldfinches
flutter down through the day for the first time
to find themselves among fallen petals
cradling their day’s colors in the day’s shadows
of the garden beside the old house
after a cold spring with no rain
not a sound comes from the empty village
as I stand eating the black cherries
from the loaded branches above me
saying to myself Remember this

W.S. Merwin, from “To Paula in Late Spring”:

Let me imagine that we will come again
when we want to and it will be spring
we will be no older than we ever were
the worn griefs will have eased like the early cloud
through which the morning slowly comes to itself…
the light will be as it is now in the garden
that we have made here these years together
of our long evenings and astonishment

~ Margalit Fox, from “W.S. Merwin, Poet of Life’s Evanescence, Dies at 91″ (NY Times, March 15, 2019)


Notes:

  • W.S. Merwin Photo by Nancy Carrick Holbert 01/14/1969
  • W.S. Merwin biography
  • The Atlantic Monthly: “The intentions of Merwin’s poetry are as broad as the biosphere yet as intimate as a whisper. He conveys in the sweet simplicity of grounded language a sense of the self where it belongs, floating between heaven, earth, and the underground.

 

 

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

I wake from a dream,
reach towards day as it hatches,
its tiny beak presses against
the delicate shell of sky.
Today I might learn to fly.

~ Christine Valters Paintner, “Wings” in Dreaming of Stones: Poems


Notes:

Lessons from Lucy

dave barry

I turned 70 in the same year that my dog, Lucy, turned 10—or, in dog years, 70. So we’re basically at the same stage of life, namely, Getting Old.

Lucy is handling it a lot better than I am.

I’m not complaining: I’ve had a good life, and I’m content. But Lucy is more than content: She’s happy, often exuberantly happy, constantly finding excitement and joy in everyday events. It occurred to me that maybe I could learn some life lessons from her—that I could find more happiness in my own life by doing the things Lucy does, except of course for drinking from the toilet.

One thing Lucy does is love people. She is extremely friendly. Even though, as a puppy, she was abandoned to the streets, where she probably had some unpleasant experiences, she shows no fear of strangers, human or canine. She is determined to shower love upon everybody she gets anywhere near. And she is always making new friends.

Pretty much everybody loves Lucy. It’s hard not to: She greets all visitors, whether or not she’s ever met them before, by running up to them, tail wagging, and expressing her love for them with every inch of her quivering-with-happiness body. She is ecstatic when, for example, the bug man comes. Every South Florida household has a bug man who comes once a month to spray deadly carcinogens around as part of the ongoing battle between humans and what we call “Palmetto bugs,” which are cockroaches the size of mature squirrels.

The bug man is Lucy’s best friend. She follows him from room to room, ready and eager to assist in the event that he needs to be licked. She’s like this with all visitors to our house; every one of them is her best friend. So is everybody she meets when we’re out walking around. She has many, many best friends. She is 75 pounds of pure, unstoppable affection, a powerful groin-seeking missile of love.

~ Dave Barry, from “Learning a New Trick From My Old Dog: Friendship” (wsj.com, March 15, 2019)

Dave Barry is the author of the forthcoming “Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog” (April 2, 2019)

Driving I-95 North. In March, with Summer Breeze.

Yesterday evening. 6:55 p.m. Still at the office.  I shut down my PC, grab the loose papers from my desk and toss them into my brief case. I throw on my coat and step into the hallway. It’s quiet, still. No phones ringing. No printers running. No overhead hum, the HVAC is shut down. Everyone has gone home. The building rests.

I walk to the garage. It’s been a Long week. Unexpected (and serious) issues flare up, soaking up the free oxygen. Yet, you like that don’t you? Good to be needed. Great to be needed. DK, what did you want to be when you grew up? A Firefighter, of course. Superman-DK running into burning buildings, his Cape flapping behind him, carrying out Babies. Like that, sort of, of the Suit Kind.

I’m in the car. Temperature read-out is 49° F. I’m on the tail end of rush hour. Traffic is flowing. Roads are dry. Spring, come, Now.

I slide the window down. The cool wind washes over my face, a light anesthetic, and the moment spins back passages from Sarah McColl’s “Joy Enough“, my new book in flight.

“I felt it first as a space, like a window thrown open and then a breeze through the bedroom.”

And then Sarah rises again:

“There was a breeze that day, and my hair was gathered into a ponytail, I could feel the air move at the nape of my neck.

And then Sarah one more time:

There were no cars on the road, and the hem of my skirt fluttered at my knees in the humid breeze.

And with this, the weight of the week lifts, the tightness in my shoulders and neck releases, and Bliss rises.

With one eye on the road and the other on my iPhone, I flick down my Favorites playlist, turn the volume up, and then one more extra turn, and hit play.  Summer Breeze by Seals & Crofts.

See the curtains hangin’ in the window, in the evenin’ on a Friday night
A little light a-shinin’ through the window, lets me know everything is alright
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind


Notes: Other quotes by Sarah McColl in Joy Enough: A Memoir.”  Photo via Of Figs and Roses

Saturday Morning

A little tap at the window, as though some missile had struck it, followed by a plentiful, falling sound, as light, though, as if a shower of sand were being sprinkled from a window overhead; then the fall spread, took on an order, a rhythm, became liquid, loud, drumming, musical, innumerable, universal. It was the rain.

Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past


Photo: David Salter with rain

Miracle. All of it.

Right now your heart is beating in utter darkness inside your chest.

~ Francis Weller, in The Geography Of SorrowFrancis Weller On Navigating Our Losse


Notes:

  • Sources: Quote – Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. Photo Credit
  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.
  • Inspiration: Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
  • Inspiration: “For the heart, life is simple: it beats for as long as it can. Then it stops.” – Karl Ove Knausgård, My Struggle: Book 1.

Lightly Child, Lightly.

“Still, a great deal of light falls on everything.”

~ Vincent van Gogh, in his “Letter to Theo van Gogh, The Hague, c. 10 October 1882

 


Notes:

  • Painting: Sunflowers, 1888 by Vincent Van Gogh.  Quote via bradplumer
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Notes:

Here I was, I thought, living.

Things were better at home when a chicken roasted in the oven or eggs cooked in a hot buttered pan… Cooking was a meditation, I thought. It anchored me in my body—here was my hand, holding a knife, slicing through celery. Here I was, standing on the black and white kitchen tile of my first apartment in Brooklyn, listening to records, making dinner. Here I was, I thought, living.

~ Sarah McColl, “Joy Enough: A Memoir.” (January, 2019)


Notes: Image: Better Homes & Gardens – Perfect Fried Eggs.  Prior Sarah McColl posts

Resist the Rain

Patty Maher, “Resist the Rain

 

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