Sunday, February 8, 2009


week of February 1 to 7

I once had a friend who now won’t answer when I write.

This is a long story and because I still think that someday (like Jefferson and Adams) we will be friends again I won’t try to postulate in public the whys (except that I am superficial and conventional and she is running so hard - like the man in Merwin’s poem:
he is making good time
his breath comes more easily
he is still troubled at moments
by the feeling
that he has forgotten something
but he thinks he is escaping a terrible

“A Blessing”)
This month is the month of her birthday and so I remember her even with the forefront of my brain and even the surface of my heart. It has been six (seven?) years since we were friends and it is no longer true – that other poem of Merwin’s:

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

Or maybe it is so true that I’m not aware any more of the thread that is her absence running through my days.

What is true is that she is irreplaceable for me.

Which is amazing.

I have been unreasonably blessed with the friendship of remarkable people – friends who have come from faraway to this tucked-away corner of the world, friends who have lived beside me for years before unpacking the treasure that is themselves. New friends and old friends, friends who are related to me by blood and marriage, friends who were strangers when we first meet, friends whom I feel I've known forever. But none of them are her. None of you are.  Irreplaceable all of you, I’m afraid, though (please) let’s not separate and see.

I was going to write this week about Eldest Child pointing out that I am unreliable about meals – sometimes I say I am making something for dinner and then get sidetracked and never start or get involved in an hours-long cooking project. This is true. And at the time, her pointing it out was . . . painful seems too strong a word. But the clear-eyed look she bent on me while explaining why she would make her own dinner before finishing something I wanted her to do was diminishing. However, now weeks later, that is all old news – only this sad old sorrow, this friend gone away from me, still feels fresh.

"Dogsbody" is the title of what I thought I was going to write – about the time my friend and I, when we were still friends, confused the word
dogsbody with godsbody and insights resulting therefrom that seemed to apply to my daughter and the diminished I. But instead all I can think of is what a stupid hound the heart is – you try to yell at it and order it back home and it whines and cowers back, until you aren’t looking, then bounds up around your heels again, ears flapping, tongue flapping, so glad to be out on the road with a friend.


Mrs. Organic said...

I enjoy reading your thoughts. That's not to say that I enjoy this pain you're experiencing, only that your expression of it is a beautiful thing.

My depth of field is sorely lacking in the poetry arena, so I look forward to reading you and learning more. Can you tell me in which book I'd find the second poem you quoted?

p.s. I labored over that last sentence so it wouldn't end with a preposition - who knew I was so self-conscious, you may mock me now. :)

Emma J said...

Oh, no - please do dangle your prepositions - what else are they for? (And I would never mock you.)

What I hate about the way I write/ talk/ think is how labored (and belabored and overlabored) it is. I **love** the freshness of your blogs - in my next life I'm going to write (and live) like that.

Merwin - W.S. Merwin - isn't he great? And incredibly prolific. My book of his is called Selected Poems by . . ., but it looks like "Separation" comes originally from a book called Moving Target.

Mrs. Organic said...

Oh, thank you I'll feel free to dangle my preps here from now on.

Do you know - I think the way you write. I just toss out words like totally, seriously, and dangle the smack out of my prepositions (oh, and curse now and then) in my writing. You would die if you read my journals - not because of the cursing. No, because I take forever to get to the point. I sometimes even forget I ever had a point.

But writing is great therapy. I'm going to put Moving Target on my library list, thanks!

Mrs. Organic said...

I just realized that may not have sounded flattering, but I did mean it to be. I'm very envious of your writing style.

Emma J said...

Then we can be envious of each other - seriously! - but in a good sort of way. And I didn't find anything in what you said unflattering - and just to let you know - it's all your fault I've wasted my whole writing day reading the Pioneer Woman saga!

Mrs. Organic said...

It is a bit addicting, isn't it? You should check out Mormon Mommy Blogs - there's a couple of fiction blogs there too. Although it's like looking for a needle in a haystack to find them.

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