Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I am not done with my changes

I had a fun Mother's Day. I am now a member of the Portland Art Museum! The whole family is! Michael and the kids gave me a membership for Mother's Day. I can't wait to take advantage of it.

Drove to Corvallis Sunday and saw my mom, briefly! Planted geraniums and other flowers in pots that are now in her courtyard and under her window.

It was unseasonably warm yesterday. The flowers seem to be digging it.

I have lots of meetings this week, and conferences with students! It's sestinas and villanelles this week for my poetry students. Which means, of course, "One Art" and "Do Not Go Gentle" and things like that!

Tomorrow I will go see Daneen and other PSU poets read. I'm looking forward to that.

Stanley Kunitz is gone. He will be missed.

One of my favorite poems of his:
The Layers

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
"Live in the layers,
not on the litter."
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

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