Image taken from here.
Love and Stationery
Tonight, women dream of stationery;
well thumbed catalogues hidden
in bedside tables, falling open
at filing solutions. Some promise
this will be the last time, one final look
at industrial size staplers, hole punches.
Others take it further. Post-it notes
edge their desire as they chase private
rainbows husbands don’t understand.
At lunchtime, propelled out by a need
for highlighters, their fingers brush
sellotape dispensers as they imagine
being held by paperclips,
protected by bubblewrap,
wiped clean with Tippex.
In quiet moments,
they will pull out new journals,
those blank, lined, empty pages waiting
to be filled; who knows what magic
will result from an organized life?
At bad times, when the ink runs dry,
you will find a woman standing in front
of an open stationery cupboard, the flutter
of her heart stilled by the solid weight
of correspondence quality paper.
My son makes a gesture my mother used to make. The sun
in their eyes.
Fluttering their fingers. As if to disperse it.
He does it again. The sun, like the drifting ashes of a distant
past. The petals
Of some exploded yellow roses.
The miracle of it.
The double helix of it.
The water running uphill of it.
Last night Luke got wind of the asteroid that was going to pass between the earth and the moon and became convinced it was going to smash right into us. He couldn't be talked out of this notion and veered wildly between glee at the thought of it -- and sheer panic. I'm very glad the planet has survived unscathed.
Inspired by Robert Frost:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
and sorry we could not travel both
And be one family, long I stood
and listened to the kids going at it good
till one punched the other in the mouth.
Then I made them both, as just as fair,
Turn right around and go straight back home.
Because I won’t have it, I don’t care;
No matter how much they cry and moan
They have to learn to take turns, to share.
One wanted one road, the other, the other.
Of course! That is always the way.
It is difficult being the mother
Of this stubborn sister and brother.
If one wants to go the other will stay.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I'm somehow now the bad guy.
So we missed one walk, what’s the difference?
On my facebook and twitter statuses the other day I jokingly misquoted this as "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your ONE WILD AND PRECIOUS HOUR TO YOURSELF?" Other moms understood.
But I do love the real Mary Oliver quote and isn't this photo by Ez of Creature Comforts, so pretty? She should sell prints. This would be nice in the kids' room.
Can you read the quote from Neruda's The Great Tablecloth carved into that lazy susan? The carpenter ant at the sticks and bricks shop in Northhampton, MA has been stamping poems into wooden furniture. She's done a trunk with a Maya Angelou poem, a drop-leaf table with one by Kahlil Giban and a Yeats wine rack. Something like this would make a lovely custom gift for someone. Incidentally, learning to refinish and rebuild wooden furniture like the sticks and bricks stuff is something I want to do before I die.
Sylvie enjoys How to Eat a Poem, one of the poetry books the kids got for Christmas. There are many terrific poems in this one, including a passage from the Inuit poem "Magic Words." This is my favourite bit:
That was the time when words were like magic.
The human mind had mysterious powers.
A word spoken by chance
Might have strange consequences.
It would suddenly come alive
And what people wanted to happen could happen
All you had to do was say it.
Doesn't this section of Auden's "As I Walked Out One Evening" sound like something out of a children's book?
'I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sings in the street,
'I'll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.
And as for the bit about loving your crooked neighbour with your crooked heart, well, I've just decided this is my new favourite poem. If you've read a good biography of Auden, will you email me or leave a comment about it?
Why Onions Give Us Their Tears
Because they are secretly afraid of the dark.
Because they are homely and humble and cannot bear the sadness.
Because they've held all of the hopes of the lily yet will never pose wanly in a vase
but be tamed in a kettle instead.
Because the garden was a long lush dream above them.
Because once for a moment they felt the sun on their maiden heads
and they knew then what the others knew
cabbage and chard and sugar snap
that it was the hot kiss of the galaxy
and they had misspent their entire lives.
Because they would drown in the waters of their own weeping.