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Tuesday, July 07, 2015


Giving things away for the last few months to Goodwill, used bookstores, aware more than ever that I do not want my children burdened with my possessions when that time comes for me. The more I let things go, the more I think I see my life a little more clearly. I will never read certain books, never wear certain clothes again, use all the fabric and yarn I've accumulated. I recycle old rough drafts from graduate school and keep only a few. Teaching notes recycled, too; I have said everything I wanted to say at the university level. There is satisfaction in letting things go into the unknown, to see how much I can live with, how much I can live without.
I do know a few things: I will endeavor to write more poems.  I will try to finish the two other books I have shelved so that I can work on Asha's book.  The one thing I know is that I will finish Asha's book, one way or another.  Her husband has so far refused to speak to me, and I feel he is the gateway to her family in Poland.  I tell myself I must trust this process.
Wise words from one of my favorite poets who lived to be over one hundred years old.  Can you imagine how much he saw, how much experience he had?

The Layers

Stanley Kunitz

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