Great Things Have Happened
We were talking about the great things
that have happened in our lifetimes;
and I said, “Oh, I suppose the moon landing
was the greatest thing that has happened
in my time.” But, of course, we were all lying.
The truth is the moon landing didn’t mean
one-tenth as much to me as one night in 1963
when we lived in a three-room flat in what once had been
the mansion of some Victorian merchant prince
(our kitchen had been a clothes closet, I’m sure),
on a street where by now nobody lived
who could afford to live anywhere else.
That night, the three of us, Claudine, Johnnie and me,
woke up at half-past four in the morning
and ate cinnamon toast together.
“Is that all?” I hear somebody ask.
Oh, but we were silly with sleepiness
and, under our windows, the street-cleaners
were working their machines and conversing in Italian, and
everything was strange without being threatening,
even the tea-kettle whistled differently
than in the daytime: it was like the feeling
you get sometimes in a country you’ve never visited
before, when the bread doesn’t taste quite the same,
the butter is a small adventure, and they put
paprika on the table instead of pepper,
except that there was nobody in this country
except the three of us, half-tipsy with the wonder
of being alive, and wholly enveloped in love.
“Picture yourself when you were five. in fact, dig out a photo of little you at that time and tape it to your mirror. How would you treat her, love her, feed her? How would you nurture her if you were the mother of little you? I bet you would protect her fiercely while giving her space to spread her itty-bitty wings. she’d get naps, healthy food, imagination time, and adventures into the wild. If playground bullies hurt her feelings, you’d hug her tears away and give her perspective. When tantrums or meltdowns turned her into a poltergeist, you’d demand a loving time-out in the naughty chair. From this day forward I want you to extend that same compassion to your adult self.”
~ Kris Carr
Make much of something small.
The pouring-out of tea,
a drying flower’s shadow on the wall
from last week’s sad bouquet.
A fact: it isn’t summer any more.
Say that December sun
is pitiless, but crystalline
and strikes like a bell.
Say it plays colours like a glockenspiel.
It shows the dust as well,
the elemental sediment
your broom has missed,
and lights each grain of sugar spilled
upon the tabletop, beside
pistachio shells, peel of a clementine.
Slippers and morning papers on the floor,
and wafts of iron heat from rumbling rads,
can this be all? No, look — here comes the cat,
with one ear inside out.
Make much of something small.
Sunday morning at 3 am it was 50 degrees! I even rode my bike to the library and the store in the late afternoon and actually said to myself gee 44 degrees, that feels kind of cold.
Then this afternoon it was 22 degrees with a windchill of 8, so it feels like 8 degrees F. outside. Seriously it was too much for my precious little bod to handle.
Thank God that I had my brand new winter coat that I bought for $8 and was toasty inside it. I forgot to wear socks and didn’t have warm enough pants, cause I forgot to check how cold it was outside online before leaving the apartment and I didn’t know the polar wind was here, but will be properly dressed for polar weather the next time I go outside to wait for a bus and/or ride my bike.
What a horrible difference 36 hours can make. I’m inside and still warming up from my forays by bike/bus to therapy this afternoon. Not quite toasty yet, but working on it.
I don’t care how many poets can write great poems about winter and I’ve read a number of them in the past month or so, I am not thinking poetically about it right about now.
“The voice of the sea speaks to the soul.”
~ Kate Chopin, The Awakening
“I am rooted, but I flow.”
~ Virginia Woolf, The Waves