Friday, July 06, 2007

a poem after diagnosis...

READING THE FILES OF THE SUMMER OF DEATH

Say it several ways: a cloud

small, in the distance, across the bruised hills

or the intimate smudge on this negative

fusing a scanned secret. White masses


blind us. Laboratory files

refuse grief. Say the stars are forming

at a centered galaxy. Say love has a shape

you’d know, beautiful & wounded.


Now the pain

is distant, let’s talk, say, of your gardens

the white valerian, the arch of ivy

Say there is a place the soul comes to


Say death takes our senses

takes your breath away, that beauty

the woman in her red dress. Say

it makes a certain sense, the lines


of white birches, the blasted lesions

like fireworks exploding

through the brain. They’re pretty.

They could be a row of daisies.


This could be the storm breaking

This could be the falling tower

Your hands tremble

Your nerves are naked


Poetry is the last resort.



I read this poem at a local college, upon request, a few years back. One of the other folks turning out to have been asked to read a poem (oddly, about my bookstore, though I hadn't met him previously) gave me a ride to the rehearsals...and turned out to be an off duty highway patrol officer. "yeah, in my job I have a lot of time driving, and when an idea hits I just pull over..."

The poem came from an inadvertent breach of confidentiality when I was sorting mail for a local health center and a report, complete with x ray, fell out of a package. As I picked it up I saw the name of one of my dearest local friends, a poet. And the diagnosis.

She is still living, and managing her condition okay, with the help of poetry and her dear husband.

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2 Comments:

At July 09, 2007 1:20 PM , Blogger blog queen said...

So very beautifuol this is.

I have added you to my blog, and updated it. I was offline for a few days, doing some things, and then exahusted, becuase I just had surgery three weeks ago, and simply CAN'T do as much as I'd like.

I will check back here often. I have you bookmarked now.

 
At July 14, 2007 11:15 AM , Blogger Lori Witzel said...

Blew me away -- both the accident of discovery, and what you did with that.

Makes me feel very conscious of the breath and spirit beneath the word, "inspiration."

For fun:
http://humanityquest.com/themes/
inspiration/Etymology/

 

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