I spent most of this evening cleaning up my work area. It is where I write and paint and store most of my books and stuff. I noticed the other day that the stuff was getting to be too much. I couldn’t sit at my desk anymore because of the stuff and the idea of going through all the stuff was rather intimidating so there it remained. Until tonight.
After spending a lovely afternoon with my MIL at Ikea (she needed a new kitchen table, a lamp and a tiny trashcan) I came home to a dark, gloomy house and a sky that was threatening to snow at any minute. I’d promised myself a run before dinner and sundown, but it was just too cold and the time was right to tackle the stuff on my desk.
Clearing away the bills, the junk, the stuff that seems magnetically drawn to my desk because it has no proper place in our house or my life felt great so I moved on to the big messy, cluttered bookshelf. Among all the books I think I should read, but never will and other assorted flotsam, including a statue of Shiva I’m afraid to toss because it will most certainly bring bad luck, I found an accordion file of my writings over the years. Even better, I found a manila folder of poetry in the file.
I’d forgotten about the manila folder. It wasn’t even mine to begin with. It belonged to my parents’ next-door neighbor, the unsinkable Mary Dwyer Currier, or Maribel as her wonderful husband, Richard and I called her. They had
“adopted” me as their ersatz granddaughter when I was very young and I adored them.
At their house I could escape the drama and chaos of my own. Richard would crack open a few Cokes in the kitchen, put a few Milanos on a fancy plate and we’d spend hours talking about music and art and books and politics. They introduced me to Bach, the theater, Jesuits and John Cheever.
Richard was a gifted pianist, philosopher and mathematician as well as former head of the school district. Maribel was a card-carrying Feminist, Truman-democrat and renegade Catholic. They both loved poetry and collected clippings from journals and newspapers in a manila folder that came into my possession shortly before Maribel passed away. Before tonight I never looked to see what was in there.
The clippings are carefully done. Long strokes with the scissor, not like my choppy haphazard cuttings. The New Yorker, NYT, The Atlantic, American Poetry Review...The poems themselves cover a variety of themes, which give my older adult self new insights into the hearts of two people I loved when I was young, who I love still.
I’d like to share some of the poems in this blog and see where they take us.
I don’t know if I’m breaking any copyright rules, so if I am, let me know.
Late Winter Afternoon
by Charles Wharton Stork
Near and afar now, low and high,
The sharp black boughs and the dull
The air grows chilly, the faint light
Dismal the hush of the woodland
As the gathering twilight settles
Over the fields of withered brown.
Little of beauty is here, you say,
At the somber close of this winter
But study the exquisite traceries
From trunk to twig of the passive
And note how toward the horizon’s
The tones of the hillside soften and
The time between January 2 and the first glimpse of spring is a year unto itself in the Netherlands. It snowed a bit today but not much more than meager white dandruff over crusty flat fields. Driving my car over a sandy road no dust rose behind me although my car door felt gritty when I stepped out onto our driveway. The sand itself is frozen down to a distillate that produces no clouds but settles without any fanfare. My gloves make everything clumsier than usual. It seems to take forever in the freezing cold to open our mailbox to collect the post before I go inside. When the front door opens I smell them. My husband brought me daffodils from the market last Saturday– Here, March preview! Yellow flowers with a sunny scent on a January afternoon, by which he means to say he loves me.