as of the beginning of this new academic year, one in which I am strangely not on an academic schedule, Monday’s Verse will with any luck resume its regular course of publishing. Thanks for your patience throughout the long and rainy summer.
This lyric, by a poet who died too young this spring, really doesn’t need much of an introduction. Deborah Digges taught at Tufts and was an award-winning poet, although she published only four books of verse during her lifetime. She died after apparently committing suicide by jumping from the top of a sports stadium on the UMass-Amherst campus, at age 59. On the occasion, her Tufts colleague Lee Edelman said that Ms. Digges wrote “with a passionate intelligence that never lost sight of the complexities of experience or of the unfinished business with which we all live.”
The following poem is the title piece from her forthcoming collection. I say that it does not need much of an intro (although, as always, we welcome comments and reaction) because I think you can read it yourself and then try to figure out why tears have suddenly sprung from your eyes. -ed.
THE WIND BLOWS THROUGH THE DOORS OF MY HEART
The wind blows
through the doors of my heart.
It scatters my sheet music
that climbs like waves from the piano, free of the keys.
Now the notes stripped, black butterflies,
flattened against the screens.
The wind through my heart
blows all my candles out.
In my heart and its rooms is dark and windy.
From the mantle smashes birds’ nests, teacups
full of stars as the wind winds round,
a mist of sorts that rises and bends and blows
or is blown through the rooms of my heart
that shatters the windows,
rakes the bedsheets as though someone
had just made love. And my dresses
they are lifted like brides come to rest
on the bedstead, crucifixes,
dresses tangled in trees in the rooms
of my heart. To save them
I’ve thrown flowers to fields,
so that someone would pick them up
and know where they came from.
Come the bees now clinging to flowered curtains.
Off with the clothesline pinning anything, my mother’s trousseau.
It is not for me to say what is this wind
or how it came to blow through the rooms of my heart.
Wing after wing, through the rooms of the dead
the wind does not blow. Not the basement, no wheezing,
no wind choking the cobwebs in our hair.
It is cool here, quiet, a quilt spread on soil.
But we will never lie down again.