The photograph above is of part of our hallway and bathroom after workers gutted it. (We came home from my father’s memorial last week to find part of our house demolished due to frozen-pipe related damage. Recent life has been fun.) The water-picture is by my 6 year old & the poem I taped to the wall is “The Guest House”
by Rumi, esp. because of its lines “Welcome and entertain them all!/Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,/who violently sweep your house/empty of its furniture,/still, treat each guest honorably./He may be clearing you out/for some new delight.” One can only hope.
We had industrial-strength dehumidifiers and fans blowing in the house for about a week. The constant noise was driving us crazy, bonkers, coocoo, totally utterly nuts. But they were taken away yesterday, so we now have
TIME TO HEAR OURSELVES THINK
by Dick Allen
We’ve missed that for years, not so much
The thinking itself–that goes on regardless–
But the hearing of it, small waterwheels
Turning in millponds, the press and hiss
Of steam irons in storefront laundry shops,
Gears changing, the tick in the clock
Hopping upstairs. It’s as if,
In muffled slow motion, through shock and aftershock,
We kept feeling with our hands–all thought
Outside ourselves, all concepts
Those railroad stations we were always leaving,
Elevators, the courthouse steps
Hurrying toward collapse. But now that we have
Stolen this time, I’m beginning
To hear numbers–I swear it–
Little formations of numbers gathering
Strength as their flanks swing east, and pigeons
Cooing in bank alcoves, and my own
Pencil tapping, ears popping, the spitting sound
Made when tires roll over tiny stones
And it’s almost frightening to think
Of what was going on, how much lies there
Scattered, or wounded, or dead
In ourselves that we could not hear.
By the way, thank you so much to the friends & family members who sent money to Poetry Daily in lieu of flowers for my Dad. They initially didn’t meet their fund-raising goals (which would be bad if they couldn’t keep going, esp as we lost “The Writer’s Almanac,” another great daily poetry site– due to the Garrison Keillor alleged-scandal a few months ago) but a letter went out earlier this week to readers saying “You put us over the top! Thank you so much for all your support in getting us through our 2017 fundraising drive .Last week we reached our $60,000 goal, with an additional $2000 to give us a wonderful head start into 2018!” I believe that the donations made in honor of Dad helped w/this. 🙂 Thank you.
Poetry Daily does a fantastic job in getting poetry out there, as they post work from new books and literary magazines every day, supporting both poets and the literary magazines and presses who publish them. Dad’s poem “Time to Hear Ourselves Think” was the second poem they ever posted, back when they started in 1997. He’s been a big supporter of them from the beginning, so he would be pleased at this news.
I think that, to help me get through my mourning and get myself used to my role as my father’s “literary executer,” I may try to read/concentrate on a different one of his poems each day. I won’t post them all here, of course, but might write about the process from time to time in case the topic of what-happens-to-a-poet’s-work-after-they-die might be of interest to readers of this blog. We’re receiving letters from people who just started reading my father’s work for the first time this past week. Funny to think of them “meeting” him, in a way.