Monday’s Verse 4/18/2016

Dear readers,

thanks to alert reader Arwen Blayney for sending in her photo of the 37 bus from Dublin, and to astute readers Bernadette, Mark, and Steve, for instantly recognizing the world’s most random number.

An addendum to last week’s selection is that I don’t know who Declan Molloy is. I also don’t know who Declan Mollow is, so last week’s intro stands the test of truth, but DECLAN MOLLOY is the author of "Woman Waiting for the Dublin Bus," and yes, he sure did some clever verbization there with chicaning, reminding me a little of Billy Collins and his "dolphining" to describe how a dog runs in the deep snow. Good stuff.

This week alert, antipodean, astute, altruistic reader Jennifer Ulichny tips us off to a centenarian poet, who had her first collection published shortly after her death at 107 years. Her small circle of fans fell in love with Peggy Freydberg’s "humor and passion and wisdom" when she read in public, or entertained interviewers. If this poem didn’t mention the writer’s advanced age, would you have known it was written by someone 90+? Keats, after all, wrote about shades of mortality and the crepuscular world, but died at 25.

For more about how Ms. Freydberg’s first book of poems came about, see this article. -ed.

CHORUS OF CELLS

Every morning,
even being very old,
(or perhaps because of it),
I like to make my bed.
In fact, the starting of each day
unhelplessly,
is the biggest thing I ever do.
I smooth away the dreams disclosed by tangled sheets,
I smack the dented pillow’s revelations to oblivion,
I finish with the pattern of the spread exactly centered.
The night is won.
And now the day can open.

All this I like to do,
mastering the making of my bed
with hands that trust beginnings.
All this I need to do,
directed by the silent message
of the luxury of my breathing.

And every night,
I like to fold the covers back,
and get in bed,
and live the dark, wise poetry of the night’s dreaming,
dreading the extent of its improbabilities,
but surrendering to the truth it knows and I do not;
even though its technicolor cruelties,
or the music of its myths,
feels like someone else’s experience,
not mine.

I know that I could no more cease
to want to make my bed each morning,
and fold the covers back at night,
than I could cease
to want to put one foot before the other.

Being very old and so because of it,
all this I am compelled to do,
day after day,
night after night,
directed by the silent message
of the constancy of my breathing,
that bears the news I am alive.

-2015

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