Thursday, October 10, 2013

A poetry angel

A Moment

I'm walking on the slope of a hill newly green.
Grass, small flowers in the grass,
just as in a children's book.
Hazy sky, already turning blue.
A view of other hills spreads out in silence.
As if there had been no Cambrians or Siluries here,
rocks growling at one another,
upthrust abysses,
no fiery nights
nor days in clouds of darkness.
As if no plains had moved through here
in feverish delirium,
in icy shivers.
As if only elsewhere had the seas been churning,
tearing apart the edges of the horizon.
It is nine-thirty local time.
Everything is in its place and in genial accord.
In the valley, the small stream as a small stream.
The path as a path from always to ever.
Woods in the guise of woods world without end amen,
and on high, birds in flight as birds in flight.
As far as the eye can see a moment reigns here.
One of those earthly moments
implored to linger.

WISŁAWA SZYMBORSKA
translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak


For well more than a year, my friend and poet Melissa emailed me a poem a day.  I awoke one morning craving poetry, to know more about it, to discover more of its practitioners.  While poetry was discussed and read in a fiction workshop in the 1980s and I used my lunch hours from work to haunt the poetry alcoves of used bookstores in North Hollywood, I had nearly lost forever the heart for this extraordinary form in a junior college class that required us to deconstruct everything.  It began with Yeats in a way that felt he had been exhumed and eviscerated and I along with him.  For that and so many other reasons, formal education and I decided we were not a good match.

Melissa and I met through our blogs and she fashioned a pillowy nest for me in the poets corner, sent a box of books from her own shelves and began to free me from the long-clinging disappointment of that dreadful class, circa 1963.  While I have wished to be a poet for no other reason than to be called one, I knew that was not me.  I've surrendered those delusions but to write more poetically seemed possible.  There are days when I think it happens, many when it does not.
A story on the radio yesterday morning reported that the Juno spacecraft would fly past Earth "...for a gravity assist that will slingshot the probe onward toward Jupiter."  By whatever metaphor seems apt, we are all, at the moments we need them most, sent what could well be called angels to aid and lift, to move us forward.  I think of booster rockets which fall back to Earth when the craft is well on its way, free of pesky gravity.  Add that smooth slingshot maneuver and I consider myself  not only grateful for all Melissa's gifts, I feel amply launched in the direction of my destiny, files full of words  dancing in ways I would not have thought to use them, inspirations for my work, insights for ordinary human life.

Without poets and poetry, we are leaden, too dense of spirit to lift our feet high enough to reach the next step.  We grow dull and unresponsive.  Without the poets' saying, "look there...and there" we miss the beauty and the truth, magic eludes us.  Poetry freshens the air in a stifling  room, pulleys open the blackout curtains and unbolts the door.  Fill you lungs and run now.  You've kept her waiting long enough. 

6 comments:

susan t. landry said...

perfect, marylinn....as homage to melissa and her unending gifts to us all, and as tribute to your own generously deep soul, capable of being filled, over and over.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Susan - Thank you. Melissa is in every possible way a gift to us all, a source of unending replenishment. The blog as instrument of deliverance and so many sources of nourishment. xo

T. Clear said...

Marylinn, your words here are all poetry! I read this post earlier today, and your words hovered around me all afternoon and into this evening, and I finally found a moment where I could step back into your universe.

It's been a wonder observing your journey back into the world of poetry, and we are all the better for it.

Thank you for being who you are, and offering this place of peace where I know I can always set for a while, put my feet up, gain some much-needed sustenance of the spirit.

xxT.

Marylinn Kelly said...

T. - Thank you, I know that I am, along with every corner of my life, better for having been guided back to poetry, well beyond where I had stopped. I can think of no higher calling than to be able to offer sustenance for the spirit. xo

Kass said...

Without the poets' saying, "look there...and there" we miss the beauty and the truth, magic eludes us.

What a wonderful statement and post. I adore poetry and miss that I've been too busy to read or write any lately.

I must straighten out my priorities to include this beauty back in my life.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kass - Hello! Thank you. Poetry is a component of self-love, I have begun to discover, like other essential forms of nourishment. It is a daily task to keep our true priorities, as opposed to demands, in order. I hope you are soon back, basking in what you adore. xo