Tuesday, January 31, 2006


i watched anna and the king yesterday. what a film.

i heard my words come to me again, and that always gets me.

the king says to anna,
when a woman who has much to say says nothing, the silence is deafening.

and at one point they actually discuss the moon yielding to the sun. a line from a sonnet i wrote (i shared it with my family--who were largely unimpressed). perhaps i needed to take a moment to explain the intricacies of the sonnet form, but i didn't. i just read it. they are used to short, relatively succinct poetry from me. so when their eyes glaze over and my daughter is ready to run off singing the star-spangled banner (her new favorite song. Lord have mercy), i just pressed through and read it aloud anyway.

my poet friends who heard it applauded it and recieved it well. but i have to remember, my husband doesn't "do" poetry. that he listens is a gift. a blessing. so many years i had left my works there beside him to read and there they sat, unread. i have foregone the leaving of my works and simply read them aloud, which works out.

my daughter wrote a poem yesterday, which i thought, fantastic, and she read it aloud about twenty times (not exaggerating). i wept the first couple of times because she has emphatically said, i am not a poet. (how many times i've heard that line from various people. i get numb to it. but to hear your own child say it is a whole different kind of heartache.)

i've been granted the singular privilege of being asked to be myself.

the only thing i really know is who i am. i've labored long to make peace, smoke the pipe with my dark side. but letting that person be seen, save in this place of obscurity is something frightening.

i had thought when i came out of shadow it would be all light and bright flashing neon signs saying, this is the way, walk ye in it. but no. more cloud. more obscurity. more trust.

that is the way of it for us all i guess. following aslan through the mists over the mountain top with only the comfort of his breathing beside us. knowing He alone is what keeps us from plunging headlong into the abyss. yes, that is it for me.

walk with me aslan.
let me hear you breathe.
i'm afraid.

i'm going to the symphony today, then the art museum. i'll either be vastly inspired or feel like a clod. so many times when i walk into places where greatness is on display (or for sale, a book store for example), i wonder,
what am i doing here?

yes the works inspire me. but they also intimidate me. sitting in the poetry section of one large bookstore, the poetry alone towered a good ten to twelve feet high. there was a chair in the nook, which i sat with poetry books spread all around. i could feel the collective genius of the place breathing, it was palpable. and i sat in the mists of giants feeling like an ant. i chose my books, one of which was a letdown, you never can tell with poetry--and fled the scene.

i stay away from those places where poetry gangs up on a soul. i stay clear of the towers of books that i could never possibly read or write. i am most content with a clean sheet and good pen, no pressure, just trust.

1 comment:

michael snyder said...

I am SO with you on the 'what am I doing here?" dilemma. I ask myself that every other Thursday. And especially when I'm around great works of arts or those gifted with words or brushes or musical notes.

I am the King of Clods. But I'm fine with it.

Btw, I love the way you string words together. Don't stop.