Since April is National Poetry Month I decided to grab a book of Raymond Carver poems I bought a while back to read on the train this morning and… well, they’re beautiful and simple and perfect in their own real way. It made for a dreamy morning of sipping coffee and smiling at the page.
It was a nice day in the city today, but kind of sad too. I got my wave from The Waving Man on my way into work but he waved slowly like he was sleepy or slightly dazed. Later, while getting coffee with a coworker, an Etta James song came on and we both felt suddenly melancholy listening to a dead woman singing about a heart wrapped up in clover. He said he used to feel the same way every time an Etta Fitzgerald song came on but that it eventually goes away. Somehow that made me sadder. That fading. Then tonight on my way to get dinner a homeless man working on a crossword puzzle was mumbling to himself how he couldn’t find the right word. Maybe I’m just being sensitive but it all seemed like it should mean something. Ha, of course I’m being sensitive but still… It did all happen.
Just a perfect day for poetry I guess. Here are some of my favorites from the morning ride…
Where Water Comes Together with Other Water
I love creeks and the music they make.
And rills, in glades and measdows, before
they have a chance to becomes creeks.
I may even love them best of all
for their secrecy. I almost forgot
to say something about the source!
Can anything be more wonderful than a spring?
But the big streams have my heart too.
and the places streams flow into rivers.
The open mouths of rivers where they join the sea.
The places where water comes together
with other water. Those places stand out
in my mind like holy places.
But these coastal rivers!
I love them the way some men love horses
or glamorous women. I have a thing
for this cold swift water.
Just looking at it makes my blood run
and my skin tingle. I could sit
and watch these rivers for hours.
not one of them like any other.
I’m 45 years old today.
Would anyone believe it if I said
I was once 35?
My heart empty and sere at 35!
Five more years had to pass
before it began to flow again.
I’ll take all the time I please this afternoon
before leaving my places alongside this river.
It pleases me, loving rivers.
Love them all the way back
to their source.
Loving everything that increases me.
from Radio Waves
When I came out here I was trying to get away
from everything. Especially literature.
What that entails, and what comes after.
There is in the soul a desire for not thinking.
For being still. Coupled with this
a desire to be strict, yes, and rigorous.
But the soul is also a smooth son of a bitch,
not always trustworthy. And I forgot that.
I listened when it said, Better to sing that which is gone
and will not return than that which is still
with us and will be with us tomorrow. Or not.
And if not, that’s all right to.
Can you imagine somebody thinking like this?
That it’s really all one and the same?
But I’d think these stupid thoughts at night
as I sat in the chair and listened to my radio.
Woke up this morning with
a terrific urge to lie in bed all day
and read. Fought against it for a minute.
Then looked out the window at the rain.
And gave over. Put myself entirely
in the keep of this rainy morning.
Would I live my life over again?
Make the same unforgivable mistakes
Yes, given half a chance. Yes.