Anne Sexton wrote this wonderfully provocative poem. I am unsure of her context for the poem, but an elegy is a lament or a mourning for something past. As with anything, when we grow past the love and passion for what we do and the compassion for the people we do it with it is time to take our leave. I want to be remembered as ‘gracefully insane’ or eccentric. I love learning with my students and their families the second greatest reward I can receive. The first is learning with my family. I think, in both cases, I could be called somewhat ‘disarranged’.
Teaching is a place of great creative for me and fills a whole in the hole of my soul.
Oh my, Anne Sexton discovered and chose great words for teachers.
In the thin classroom, where your face
was noble and your words were all things,
I find this boily creature in your place;
find you disarranged, squatting on the window sill,
irrefutably placed up there,
like a hunk of some big frog
watching us through the V
of your woolen legs.
Even so, I must admire your skill.
You are so gracefully insane.
We fidget in our plain chairs
and pretend to catalogue
our facts for your burly sorcery
or ignore your fat blind eyes
or the prince you ate yesterday
who was wise, wise, wise.
Mark Nepo writes:
Beyond family or the culture and religion of our birth, life will lead us to discover the lineage we are a part of, the circle of kindred spirits that nourish our soul. The difficulties of living can often make us put this lineage aside to deal with trouble first. I've done this and found myself lessened for putting what matters last.
Several years ago, I was in a small city Medicine Hat, Alberta. I was lost and stopped several people for directions. The second half of this poem by Connie Wanek reminded me of some of the directions I received. I eventually found my way.
Today, as a I read this poem, I wondered if the second half of the poem’s directions were not the ones I need some days. Occasionally, t is nice to wander. A river that winds its way through the landscape meanders. I wonder why we don’t do that more as humans? When I got to the last line about approaching the horizon on my knees it reminded me of the things I take for granted and do not take time to just meander towards.
First you’ll come to the end of the freeway.
Then it’s not so much north on Woodland Avenue
as it is a feeling that the pines are taller and weigh more,
and the road, you’ll notice,
is older with faded lines and unmown shoulders.
You’ll see a cemetery on your right
and another later on your left.
Sobered, drive on.
Drive on for miles
if the fields are full of hawkweed and daisies.
Sometimes a spotted horse
will gallop along the fence. Sometimes you’ll see
a hawk circling, sometimes a vulture.
You’ll cross the river many times
over smaller and smaller bridges.
You’ll know when you’re close;
people always say they have a sudden sensation
that the horizon, which was always far ahead,
is now directly behind them.
At this point you may want to park
and proceed on foot, or even
on your knees.
I crave a certain quiet and solitude each week. Linda Gregg wrote this remarkable poem about God taking a break as well. I am glad to hear that God is enjoys poetry. I suspect God takes a sabbath to renew the poetic and artistic energies required for the continued unfolding of the universe and for it to go ahead beautifully. In the silence, we fish for the wisdom that keeps our lives unfolding and proceeding beautifully.
There is a hush now while the hills rise up
and God is going to sleep. He trusts the ship
of Heaven to take over and proceed beautifully
as he lies dreaming in the lap of the world.
He knows the owls will guard the sweetness
of the soul in their massive keep of silence,
looking out with eyes open or closed over
the length of Tomales Bay that the herons
conform to, whitely broad in flight, white
and slim in standing. God, who thinks about
poetry all the time, breathes happily as He
repeats to Himself: There are fish in the net,
lots of fish this time in the net of the heart.