Saturday, January 29, 2011

Even all night long

I've just been given permission to read again, after nearly four weeks of that sort of eye movement being off-limits. It feels extraordinary, this permission -- it's as if I've been away somewhere, and have just come home. But there was an odd little daunting feeling, too: what to read first? It had to be exactly right; some quality of magical thinking attached itself to the choice.

So it was a gift to find Jean Valentine's new book, BREAK THE GLASS (Copper Canyon, 2010). And especially this poem, something no one else could have written, and which seems a pure distillation of comfort, of being cared for.


Even all night long while
the night train

pulls me on in my dream
like a needle

Even then, down in my bed
my hand across the sheet

anyone's hand
my face anyone's face

are held
and kissed

the water
the child

the friend


CoirĂ­ FilĂ­ochta said...


Some men there are who find in nature all
Their inspiration, hers the sympathy
Which spurs them on to any great endeavor,
To them the fields and woods are closest friends,
And they hold dear communion with the hills;
The voice of waters soothes them with its fall,
And the great winds bring healing in their sound.
To them a city is a prison house
Where pent up human forces labour and strive,
Where beauty dwells not, driven forth by man;
But where in winter they must live until
Summer gives back the spaces of the hills.
To me it is not so. I love the earth
And all the gifts of her so lavish hand:
Sunshine and flowers, rivers and rushing winds,
Thick branches swaying in a winter storm,
And moonlight playing in a boat's wide wake;
But more than these, and much, ah, how much more,
I love the very human heart of man.

Amy Lowell

Janet Isserlis said...

thank you for this poem, and for letting us know so beautifully how it is to read again. anew.

Kathleen said...

I'm so glad you can read again. And glad you found the perfect poem.

Kyle Erickson said...

Wow. Great poem. So, glad you're reading now, too. Enjoy.