Wednesday, August 12, 2015

KEEP THE DISTANCE SHORT

Funny how some posts, some poems I post, are more resonant than others. It’s odd or interesting or curious to me that often the choices are very nearly random; I feel the post needs a poem and I root around in my paltry West Coast poetry library and see if anything nearly fits the mood of the post or anything I might have mentioned.

Such was the case with the Mark Strand selection. One friend reposted it on her FB feed. Another wrote me a sweet note:

Dear Sally Anne,

Your last bit reminds me of a thought from one of my teachers, paraphrased;
“the measure of our pain is the distance between where we think we should be and where we think we are.”
True.
The solution is implied in the statement.
Love, J


So that thought has been with me all day, as it is certain the path my thoughts are on quite a bit of the time. (I seem to be in slight remission today.) Not sure how one keeps the distance short. As I understand it, lots of good hearts and minds are working on that problem.

Mom went for an MRI today, to make sure none of her dizziness and "interesting lights" in her head were indications of a stroke. Trying to find a female doctor of geriatric medicine on this side of LA is also challenging. Making medical appointments, researching doctors, are frustrating and slow processes. Her new GP thinks she should get a second opinion on her bad hip as well. 

David, my co-gardener, came over to dig up the dying purslane and to clean out an area for a new little bed so that I could get my Fall crops going. I will likely miss their glory as I will be in New York in October but still ... Blue Lake string beans, more tomatoes, another cucumber, more lima beans, and more peppers. The garden looks a bit more bare now, but at least I can see where I need to deadhead and replant. I will try to get some photos tomorrow. By the time I finished tonight, I was gardening in the dark.

So, I will leave you with another Mark Strand. It's interesting to see how rough his early works are. This one was first published in 1964.

WHEN THE VACATION IS OVER FOR GOOD

It will be strange
Knowing at last it couldn't go on forever,
That certain voice telling us over and over
That nothing would change.

And remembering too,
Because by then it will all be done with, the way
Things were, and how we had wasted time as though
There was nothing to do,

When, in a flash
The weather turned, and the lofty air became
Unbearably heavy, the wind strikingly dumb
And our cities like ash,

And knowing also,
What we never suspected, that it was something like summer
At its most august except that the nights were warmer
And the clouds seemed to glow,

And even then,
Because we will not have changed much, wondering what
Will become of things, and who will be left to do it
All over again,

And somehow trying,
But still unable, to know just what it was
That went so completely wrong, or why it is
We are dying.

— Mark Strand, Selected Poems, Knopf, 1990

This was likely a response to the Cold War and the nukes and all, but it sure feels like it fits in our global warming and the wingnut conservative jihad today.






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