Monday, October 18, 2010


More than 55 years in one city
and only four earthquakes
until about six weeks ago
when there was a ferocious one
followed by, so far, 2000 aftershocks.
The earth, like an injured animal,
is containing within itself the pain
but from time to time
rears up against it.

With the earth jerking
and shuddering under our feet
and our houses cork-screwing
upon their foundations,
how are we to maintain
we are of any account
in the scheme of things?
We can rebuild our houses
but how are we to restore our shattered confidence?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

At odds

My poetry-writing self is wily
and very observant;
she’s in cahoots
with my dreaming self
and together they delight
in the mischief of undermining
my practical, everyday self.
Like Jung, they do not need to believe;
they know, whereas my agnostic self
lumbers from doubt to doubt.
They know that at death,
the body disassembles
its carbon, nitrogen, oxygen
into compost but they also know
that death is an enlarging horizon,
that the essence of self
cannot be destroyed.

I would like to die when I am dreaming
or writing poetry
instead of living
this incomplete fugue
where one part follows another
only to be interrupted
by a discordant jangle.

Memories that clutch and cling

The house did not contain a memory
of him arriving unexpectedly,
our sharing a meal,
listening to music together,
sitting on the floor giggling foolishly
as we played childhood card games.
These memories belonged
to a different house
in a different country.
But it did contain the memory
of his ringing one birthday
because as he said, correctly,
I would prefer a phone call to a present.
It also contained
the anguished-ridden calls
as his health leeched out of him.
When, after his death, the house
was up for sale,
I had no choice but to buy it.
How could I leave a house
where I had last heard his living voice?