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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Time, Poetry

Here's another picture from my recent trip to Illinois. That's Sarah on the right. The other dog is her "cousin," i.e., my sister Bettie's dog, Gracie.

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES is 100 years old this year. The peace sign is 50 years old. Puppy Sarah is seven months old today, and “Books in Northport” will be seven months old three days from now, on the 13th. The animal that marks time, that’s what we are.

Precious little did I accomplish today. One table cleared and reset with books of poetry for National Poetry Month. One bookcase of trade paperback fiction restocked and re-alphabetized. A couple of boxes of donated books gone through, treasures retrieved and priced and (some of them) shelved. Visits with friends, a long walk with Sarah (upstream to the millpond), and falling into poem after poem by Mary Oliver. The poem called “On Losing a House” frightens me because I understand it already, though I have not—yet—reached the time for that loss. The poem “Her Grave, Again” brings Nikki back to me:

she steps down into my dream
for a visit,
she hovers
as in the old days
at my shoulder,
she sulks
until we run out together
into the world
then she prances

through the bogs and over the dunes
then she gallops back to me
as in the old days
and leaps against me
her body
as in the old days
touching me
with the two wings of our lives…

“Love and terror” are the “two wings” that begin the next section of the poem. There would not be one without the other. If no love, no terror, and vice versa. The old house, the old dog, the shared life that had its home in the old house, along with the old dog. It was one year ago today that we said good-by to our old dog.


Deborah said...

A whole year since Nikki died and yet, to me, it seems much shorter. Think about all the ways we measure time - by things we need to do - by people and loved ones who have died - by places we've lived, by how old our children were at that time and by how old we are now. Our cousin Becky's recent email to me said Uncle Paul death was 2 years ago. His death seems so recent though I am amazed that it has been two years.
Well it is great photo of Sarah and Gracie. I'm glad to have been there to share their fun - and it's certainly a welcome photo showing life, pleasure, companionship, being connected, having fun.

dmarks said...

I love that poem.

P. J. Grath said...

Deborah, I love what you see in the picture. dmarks, glad you like the poem. As this is National Poetry Month, I'll try to post a poem every few days for the rest of the month. The other one I mentioned here, about the house, is a heart-stopper.