I was hungry for poetry when I woke up this morning, like having a jones for Starbucks Pumpkin Loaf, which I am so addicted to I only allow myself to have one slice on Sunday. I drove to Barnes & Noble to get me a big old helping of Antonio Machado, but none to be found, so I settled for Caramel Macchiato and ordered the book online. In an audio book I’ve been listening to on the way to work (more about that in a future Postcard from Fridaville), the author says that when you read a poem every day or even part of a poem, you have, as Blake wrote, “a moment in the day that Satan cannot find you.” Because we are always striving and striding toward our next big success or accomplishment or chore. Poetry requires silence and a slowing or stopping of time. But I find it hard not to be on the move, trying to outrace my demons, so I packed up my computer, iPhone, cords, books, notebooks, pens (right now I have to have Varsity disposable fountain pens in aqua and green ink) and went to a new coffee shop (with the exact color of walls and floors and the right flowers on the table to induce writing). So far I’ve spent 35 minutes preparing to write, which leaves me 85 minutes in which to actually write. This place is called Hope and Union and the logo is a sheep suspended from a balloon. I’m not hip enough to know what it means, but I hope my thoughts will form a union with my words and pour like milk and honey into my computer. Until then, here is a poem to keep the Devil at bay for you and me. It’s by Czeslaw Milosz, one of my favorite poets, and it has haunted me ever since I first read it years ago:
We were riding through frozen fields in a wagon at dawn.
A red wing rose in the darkness.
And suddenly a hare ran across the road.
One of us pointed to it with his hand.
That was long ago. Today neither of them is alive,
Not the hare, nor the man who made the gesture.
O my love, where are they, where are they going
The flash of a hand, streak of movement, rustle of pebbles.
I ask not out of sorrow, but in wonder.