Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Of a thousand young poets

Some days simply ask for John Prine.  This is one of them.

There's a rainbow of babies
Draped over the graveyard
Where all the dead sailors
Wait for their brides
And the cold bitter snow
Has strangled each grassblade
Where the salt from their tears
Washed out with the tide

And I smiled on the Wabash
The last time I passed it
Yes I gave her a wink
From the passenger side
And my foot fell asleep
As I swallowed my candy
Knowing he was in heaven
Before he died

Now the harbor's on fire
With the dreams and desires
Of a thousand young poets
Who failed 'cause they tried
For a rhyme without reason
Floats down to the bottom
Where the scavengers eat 'em
And wash in with the tide

Repeat Chorus:

The sun can play tricks
With your eyes on the highway
The moon can lay sideways
Till the ocean stands still
But a person can't tell
His best friend he loves him
Till time has stopped breathing
You're alone on the hill

Repeat Chorus:

Today would have been my 43rd wedding anniversary.  My former and late husband has been gone for eight years this month.   When we were first together he wrote a music column for the daily newspaper where we worked.  A review copy of John Prine's first album, followed by an interview with the singer/songwriter, converted all our friends into John Prine fans.  At the time of the photo above, Mr. Prine and Mr. Kelly bore a strong resemblance to each other.  Bless the 70s.


Kass said...

He was quite a poet.

I also have a former and late husband. It's a strange combination of emotions.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kass - Was and is quite a poet. It is a most complex combination of emotions. And, not mentioned in the post, I have two former and late husbands. Oy. xo

Charlotte Hildebrand said...

Thanks for posting Marrylinn, I love John Prine. Sorry to hear abt your personal loss though. 8 years isn't so long.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Charlotte - Thank you. It feels so much more recent, but then again not, than 8 years. I swear John Prine is one of the true wonder boys. xo

susan t. landry said...

this is so powerful marylinn...the loss...the way time accumulates to an impossible number, unthinkable. and always the loss. i remember when i was a college freshman, blessedly seeing my first therapist, and i said to her that i felt so sad that i had broken up with charlie, even though it had been my choice. i couldnt reconcile the two emotions--i didnt feel entitled to the sadness. and she said, loss is loss, susan. doesnt matter whose idea it was.. that was a pretty stunning insight for me, one that i have had to bring to the fore more times that i care to admit in my life thus far. so...sympathies, a hug to you, dear friend.

susan t. landry said...

sorry ...i need to clarify above. my words got ahead of my thoughts, or the other way around. the discussion with the therapist was about my breaking up with my high school boyfriend charlie, once i got to college.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Susan - Thank you. I believe I followed your words, certainly can take in the assurance that loss is loss, for it is. This is not what I set out to speak of today. I only knew John Prine was knocking on the screen door. Now I know why. Among the things that has saved me more times than I can tell is that eventually I learned to heed the most subtle of nudgings, usually thinking them to be for one purpose when they were for something else entirely. I knew this was the song, the words that I kept hearing were, "I smiled on the Wabash the last time I passed it," with no memory of the other lyrics. Loss had not been a conscious thought. I thank you for your sympathy, clarification for it, and the hug. How easily we are caught off guard. xo

Sylvia Hines said...

Marylinn, the spirit and the heart will find ways to take us where we need to go to pay homage to all the dusty gold which still survives the ages and changes. Peace and love to you my friend.

Melissa Green said...

Ah, yes. The great, wise, wistful wordsmith, John Prine. How lucky we are to have had so many poets, who grew up with us, who held our hands as we leapt into and out of sorrows, who can speak of all the losses (how can there have been so many, such hard ones?) and hum quite clearly the underlying, undertone, 'But we're still here.' It's a mystery how we survive our griefs--it's a very good thing we didn't know what was coming down the road--how would we have stood up through it? Think of the young woman you were 43 years ago, Marylinn, and how competent you were, and how clueless. How did you ever manage--and thank God you did. Sending so much love to you on this anniversary (and the one upcoming, and yes, eight years is really a mere eye blink away). Sissy.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Sylvia - Thank you, my friend. Peace and love welcomed and embraced. Dusty gold, indeed. How fortunate that heart and spirit are there to find the path. I hope you are finding time to put more of your words into messages that lift us from our darker moments. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Melissa - Thank you, long-distance hand-holding on this and all days. And for being one of the poets. How deeply are we altered, all of us, by our losses? There is no way to measure. We adapt endlessly. The cluelessness may not be over but it has dwindled, for which I am most thankful. Yes, we manage, we are still here. So many are not. I think this is one of those compartments that I avoided for, as Kass said, it is complex, too conflicted and complex. It is a relief to feel unconfused sorrow. xo