Oct 19 – two long marriages

Monday October 19  – ”          not because mind and memory
falter, but . . . ”

Mid October, a brisk, chilly, breath-taking weekend across the whole city and more.  Now a new work week.  Friday’s post was hard, a close look into the terrors of refugee journeys.  I looked this morning for a love poem to honor last Friday’s funeral for Bill Shaffer, a Vet, a member of the UAW, for 58 years married to Barbara.  And to remember my mom, then a widow of 25 years at 102,  who died on this day in 2005.  I found a poem in Evening Train, one of the later works of Denise Levertov.

Some poems require readers to look out onto vast realities; that was Friday and W J Auden’s “Refugee Blues”.  Some lead into intimate, enduring, resonant love.  That’s today’s “In Love.”  A university engages all sorts of reality.  That’s what we do here.

Best to read this a couple times,  out loud with pauses.

Have a blest Monday in this mid-October week.    Sunrise here at 7:51; sunset at 6:46, the sun rides lower in the heavens each day til December’s  Solstice.

john sj

Today’s Post   “In Love”   {dedicated to Barbara and Bill, and Hildegarde and Louis}

Over gin and tonic (an unusual treat) the ancient poet
haltingly —            not because mind and memory
falter, but because language, now,
weary from so many years
of intense partnership,
comes stiffly to her summons,
with unsure footing —
recounts, for the first time in my hearing, each step
of that graceful sarabande, her husband’s
last days, last minutes, fifteen years ago.

She files her belongings freestyle, jumbled
in plastic bags — poems, old letters, ribbons,
old socks, an empty picture frame;
but keeps her fifty years of marriage wrapped, flawless,
in something we sense and almost see —
diaphanous as those saris one can pass through a wedding ring.


Denise Levertov
                                    Denise Levertov  1923 – 1997


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