Saturday, May 18, 2013

An Elegant Form Makes Elegant Shadows

This is a vase by William Morris, who shares a name with an elegant craftsman from the British Isles. whose beautiful textile and book designs I love. I think this form is completely lovely. It also isn't really much use as a pot or even a vase. But I love looking at it. Its tranquil beauty quiets something deep inside.

Sharon Olds' poetry has been much admired for many years. It is beautifully crafted and seems to attempt to be deeply honest, in a way that people often avoid. We/me try to smooth the rough edges. Her poems often dealt with subjects that seem utterly private to me. While I know that there shouldn't be off-topic items in art, some topics make me nervous. So I admired her poems, but she was not one of my favorite poets.
However, I read so many nice things about her new book, written since (and concerning) her divorce that I decided to stop being such a subject wimp and get it. It just came, but because I was packing, I didn't get time to read it right away. Last night I was putting it away (to read in a few months when I come back) and tried a few poems, then a few more. Then I went and put it in my suitcase, after copying out this poem.


When they say, If there are any doctors aboard,
would they make themselves known, I remember when my then
husband would rise, and I would get to be
the one he rose from beside. They say now
that it does not work, unless you are equal.
After those first thirty years,
I was not the one he wanted to rise from
or return to – not I but she who would also
rise, when such were needed. Now I see them,
lifting, side by side, on wide,
medical, wading-bird wings – like storks with the
doctor bags of like-loves-like
dangling from their beaks. Oh, well. It was the way
it was, he did not feel happy when words
were called for, and I stood.

Sharon Olds from Stag's Leap, Cape Poetry (Jonathan Cape) 2012, page 33.

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