Problems in childbirth: poem is fighting its entrance to the world. We present therefore…
We’re waiting for complete gestation of a poem which speaks to the name of this blog-thing. Meanwhile…..
“He writes poetry to maintain his sanity, and hopes to succeed some day.”As seen in the bio of James Piatt, octogenarian, on Ephemeral Elegies
This is not a poem. This is not a diatribe. This is not a manifesto. This is not much of anything at all, Except one man accepting his Legacy from another.
He carried burdensome feelings of inadequacy, imperfection, insensitivity, all of them tamped down hard, buried deeply, like a stone in his heart. He layered it with each failure, consoled himself with "At least I am providing for my family." "At least I do good work, support my co-workers with grace, with fairness." And mostly with "At least I fear God." Though whether fearing God came from his true heart or from his boyhood he never knew.
Each new layer of failure or consternation or losing control to anger resonated all of the other layers. Each new layer seemed heavier than the last. Eventually his heart-weight became too much. One failure too many. He said to himself, "I am perfect enough that never, never should that have happened." He said it again. And again. And every day again. He repeated it, haunted himself with it, layering and layering his heart until it only could beat when he didn't think-- and he only could not think by shutting out his own voice, stopping up his ears to his heart-stone: taking flight in sleep, in blessed nothingness.
Five years and five months he stayed chained to that heart. Then he died.
I saw that man yesterday. I see him more frequently these days. I recognize his ways. It seems I live with him more and more. I wish I could cradle his rounded, load-weary shoulders, caress the thin hair of his head. Tell him it's okay.
Then ask him, "Could you do the same for me?"
No, definitely not a poem. Poems rhyme, poems have meter. Poems make sense.
I was just venturing into digital photography with a bulky Agfa camera–hence the very low quality of the photograph here. My wife and I celebrated her completion of chemotherapy by heading to southern Utah. We woke to a couple inches of snow in Moab. We drove in and out of snowstorms that day: through a mini-blizzard in rangeland west of Moab; dodging flakes in Capitol Reef National Park; stopping by the side of the road to prepare lunch on the spine of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, with a few lazy flakes and no other cars; arriving at the Bryce National Park Lodge in the late afternoon with snow falling again. “Let’s stay two nights,” I said, “and just enjoy this lodge today.” So we did. We ventured out the next morning to snap photos wherever we could get to–the roads were not all plowed. It wound up being one of the best vacations we’ve taken.
I grew up looking at the old travel photos and souvenir filmstrips of the 1920’s through 1940’s which my mother and her parents collected. I distinctly remember some textured postcard-like sets of souvenir vistas which either she or her parents collected when traveling. This photo reminds me of those little cards (approximately 2 inches by 3 inches).
I never view these classic southwest American vistas without thinking of the Tru-Vue filmstrip viewer which introduced me to them:
It’s not the best photo I have of the viewer, but it’s the most informative. The viewer itself is upside down: the flange sticking out of the top is the advancing mechanism which is customarily used at the bottom. Those persons aged 60-70 will recognize the concept which was translated into discs of photos which we looked at through similar, but more plastic viewers. A giant loss with these viewers of the 1960’s was that they only had a dozen or so images. The filmstrips above were almost limitless and offered several dozen black-and-white photos of the subjects named on the cartons shown. Even so, one notices that the Grand Canyon has at least three filmstrips. As I recall, the eight boxes which are not identified in the photo were of Yosemite National Park and Yellowstone National Park. An added plus is the intricately inlaid box which housed everything.