Monday, November 24, 2008

Packing up the books

I'm packing up the apartment in Houston. I've already been working on this a bit here and there, but now things are getting serious. Books going into boxes, the accumulated stuff we picked up in Salt Lake a decade ago or during my/our time in Texas. While I was packing I began to think about how many times in my life I've moved, and felt myself resisting the attempt to count: just let it be a large, inscrutable number. With a new job looming that I'm truly excited about, and a new summer home almost ours, I'm thinking that the number of moves ahead of me perhaps isn't very large. Could it be true?

This line of thinking brought to mine a poem of Stanley Kunitz's. Mobility, through much of Stanley's life, was harder to come by than it is now; for him, the prospect of turning your back on love and property and wages becomes a cry of freedom. I think the poem must have arisen out of one of those moments of being on the move -- the in-between state, or the about-to-be-in-between, when one's exhilarated by possibility.


When young I scribbled, boasting, on my wall,
No Love, No Property, No Wages.
In youth's good time I somehow bought them all,
And cheap, you'd think, for maybe a hundred pages.

Now in my prime, disburdened of my gear,
My trophies ransomed, broken, lost,
I carve again on the lintel of the year
My sign: Mobility - and damn the cost!


Peter Kent said...

Strange to be so nomadic, and then to sense a time (perhaps) for settling down. Even though I've settled now in a place I am happy to be, there's always that tug of wanderlust beneath the surface of stability.

Paul Lisicky said...

Although I couldn't be happier about the time ahead, I'm already feeling slightly sad about leaving Houston behind. What a sap I am! But ten years is long. I guess it's Time itself that I'm thinking about tonight.