Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Be Realistic: Expect a Miracle!


“The economy of heaven
Looks for fiestas and fireworks every day.
Every day.
Be realistic, says heaven:
Expect a miracle.”


~ from the poem “Not the Millennium” ~
~ by U. A. Fanthorpe ~
found in her book of Christmas Poems: BC - AD
given to us last year by Auntie Jan

Speaking of miracles, as I was looking over Christmas cards from the past few years, I pulled out a couple from people who had begun their letters with passages that were completely new to me, though from familiar authors.

First came these miraculous lines from E.E. Cummings,
sent by my friend Mary Alice:

Miracles are to come.
With you I leave a remembrance
of miracles: they are by
somebody who can love
and who shall be continually reborn,
a human being.”

Second, no surprise that my friend Tammy, a poet herself,
chose these lines from Richard Hugo:

"I almost forget: he'd do anything for you. Love him
for what you might have become
and love him for what your are, not that far
from him. We are never that far. Love
everyone you can. The list gets longer and shorter.
We're seldom better than weather . . .
Don't be sorry, for him or for self. Love the last star
broken by storm. And love you. You hold it together."

I came across an analysis of Hugo's teaching legacy that concludes with the entire poem and this editorial comment:

"Since we are today, a writing community, or at
least a village of writing teachers, let me conclude this essay
with Hugo's 'Villager.' I can't help imagining it's exactly what
he would like to say to you."

What's wrong will always be wrong. I've seen him lean
against the house hours and glare at the sea. His eyes say
no boat will come. His harsh throated seemingly
good natured mother bends her back to the soil
and there at least all grows well. When I speak with him
his eyes move away to the sea and I imagine
the red in his face from drink is also from
some ancient tribal shame. To him I'm wealthy.
When we talk, I know how wealthy I am.

The police have him on file: petty theft.
I'm certain he steals to make up for the nothing he finds
every day in the sea, and to find money for drink.
Some days a woman picks him up, a sister I'm told,
takes him away and houri later delivers him back
passed out. Next morning again he's propped against
the house, the tide out in his eyes. I imagine
his sister, if that's who she is, knows that oblivion
is what he must have often to survive.

I have much to tell him. And nothing. I'd start
with the sea. I'd say, there was another sea something
like this long ago, and another me. By the time
I got to the point he'd be looking away and be right.
No two hurts are the same, and most have compensations
too lovely to leave. At night, a photo glows alive
inside him when his mother' s asleep and the cops
aren't watching. It lights up in the dark
whenever he looks hard and by dawn has burned out.

I almost forget: he'd do anything for you. Love him
for what you might have become
and love him for what your are, not that far
from him. We are never that far. Love
everyone you can. The list gets longer and shorter.
We're seldom better than weather. We're nearly as good
as a woman we met in passing once at Invergary.
Don't be sorry, for him or for self. Love the last star
broken by storm. And love you. You hold it together.


[See Making Certain It Goes On:
The Collected Poems of Richard Hugo
, 415 - 16]

Alumbrados Medellín 2016
Medellín's World-Class Christmas Lights

See more photos
from last year's pre - Christmas trip to Medellin

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