Thanking the Gods for Their Mercy

105 hours until February. I hate crossing off the days and hours on the calendar, living that way. I feel so ungrateful for all the gifts I’ve been given and tend to forget in the rut of living. So, I draw blue and green magic marker waves across the January days gone by, low and high tide, to show that there is progress, movement. This January in CT—relentless bitter cold unlike last year, an echo of other Januaries. Thank goodness I can pay the heating oil bill as so many others cannot, I fear. Room for improvement, of course, but still . . . Another brings wood for the fireplace and the rescue dog, Benson, learns to trust the flames and stay near the humans. (His ripped ear testifies to hardship prior to death row. . . he still jumps with people—sadly mistreated in the past but saved by other human kindness of the greatest kind).

I am re-reading sentences, paragraphs, and chapters of The Glass House of Forgetting and reminded of Paul Valery’s brilliant claim: “a work of art is never finished. It is merely abandoned.” Should I pride myself on being a perfectionist or admit to some OCD? Asks the adult girl who listens to the same song over and over and over again ad nauseum. . . . until the next song. . . the next corner. Or should I attribute the incessant re-reading and tweaking to procrastination, a game I play with myself to ride out the time, stay busy, interested, alive?

Sunday is the day for poetry and journal entries. One of my closest friends used to write in her notebook only on Sundays to catch up with the week, herself, the world. Wallace Stevens’ watershed poem “Sunday Morning” written to replace the ritual of Church with the ritual and spiritual reality of poetry. Therefore, I am at my Sunday office (CBH) working amidst the hustle and bustle of people, the noises and echoes of voices comforting, churning out poetry, poetic phrases at least, counting all my blessings, humbled by the week, by emails from former students thanking me for encouragement, inspiration. Not merely tooting my own horn but documenting so that I remember on a day when I question what it is I do, want to do, aspire to. So glad I am in good spirits to take their words like baptism, a fire of purification, to walk outside of myself and bow to the gods with mercy, “thank you. Thank you. Thank you” for letting me be here still. Stilling the noise within. Quelling the restlessness with Sunday poetry.

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