Friday, May 23, 2014

A Poem Before A Break

     With today's Post, I take leave from Flying Pages for the next two weeks. Writing deadlines loom, large house projects begin, and yours truly needs a reprieve to assure these happen without a glitch.
     For the last few weeks, I set aside books of fiction or essays, and concentrated my reading time on  poetry. The first week I gathered some of my favorites, which tend to reflect on real things and real people. Of course, there are many that fill this niche, but to read them all would be like trying to hold water in a sieve––I'd not be able to move onto works written by poets I know well, or those I am not yet familiar.
     Here is one favorite I want to share with you. I hope you will enjoy reading it.

A Blessing

James Wright1927 - 1980
Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Typewriting Again


     As always, I read the last issue of Poets & Writers from cover to cover––stopping at some articles longer than others before dawdling over the Classifieds.
     In this May/June 2014 issue, Maria Mutch wrote an essay that especially caught my eye. Titled "Ghost in the Machine," the piece relates how she came to own a 1941 Remington 'Streamliner' typewriter, which carried much personal significance. Her remembrance of that particular model, and typewriters in general, resurfaced later in her life. The deep appreciation of it all resonates with me even as I write this.
     I COLLECT. I collect books, friends, fountain pens, plants, bees, wristwatches, Pinterest pins, and––drumroll, please!––manual typewriters. Now, truth be told, I'm early into the gathering of typewriters, and my collection doesn't measure one iota to what others have in their possession. I have to be careful here. There is not enough space in my home for one more bookcase (see Book Care), much less an inventory of manual typewriters (sigh!)––but to be in possession of a few, well now.
     I've been on a mission to find a manual typewriter for the last few years. I put word out on Facebook. Voila!––a writing group friend called to say she had one her father had bought for her when she studied typing/shorthand in school. She said, "I want for you to have it."
Royal 'Arrow' c. 1942
     I brought the Royal 'Arrow' home, and counted its fingers and toes as if it were a newborn. As I did this, I remembered Gloria's story about the meaning this typewriter held for her. Memories surfaced about the typewriters that wove the fabric of my past, and the desire to add a manual to my repertoire of writing instruments. In short order, I began to experience "...the kind of energy that is sometimes contained in things like boats or trees or grand pianos," as Mutch wrote about in her essay.
     I found Alan Business Machines in West Palm Beach. They told me they would be able to bring the 'Arrow' around to clean, oil, and install a new ribbon for me. I'm so pleased. Stay tuned.
Smith-Corona 'Sterling' c. 1935
     I wiled away time between other customer demands on a visit to their store. By chance, I found a treasure trove of vintage manual typewriters tucked away in cases or displayed on counters. I spotted a 1935 Smith-Corona 'Sterling'––rather, ahem! it spotted me. Musty odored nicked and bruised, dust balls rolling with breathing over its innards, letters twisted helter-skelter––but it still had wonderful action. It called to me, from its Art Deco design, for a second life, a forever home. Gotcha, honey! I'll retrieve you in another week or two.
Smith-Corona 'Classic 12' c. 1968

     Then, as if that might be too much for me (or you) to absorb, the universes totally aligned when three days later, in a Goodwill Resale store, I found a Smith-Corona 'Classic 12' in good condition. Guess what? Whoa––pay dirt! And do I need to tell you it was put to use pronto when I got home?
     Maria Mutch seemed content with her find of the typewriter she pursued. Perhaps she'll stay with just that one. As for me, what can I say. So far I've space for these three beauties. I pray addiction doesn't overcome me.
     I've written in the past on writers and the typewriters they've used but, of course, their choices were narrow––pen or typewriter? Please feel free to visit the Posts listed below. And do let me know if you are connected to a typewriter of memory.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Here's Where I'm At

     Easter has passed. Mothers' Day is upon us. Here's where I'm at.
     A beloved pooch and family member, JoJo, passed away on March 26th––thirteen years of age, having persevered multiple Schnauzer disorders.
     I'm thinking resurrection. Not the Biblical or proverbial type, but resurrection from having to think about him. From missing him. Period.
     Today, returning from an appointment, I passed the vet facility that made the first pronouncement on JoJo who had been attacked by a neighbor's German Shepherd two weeks earlier. This hospital told us to get him immediately to an emergency/critical-care vet hospital––a thirty-minute drive away. Fluid, they said, was building in his chest cavity. Something was amiss.
     Seventeen days of visitation rights, tests, aspirations, biopsies, ultrasounds, middle-of -the-night phone calls from vet radiologists, cardiologists, and the "whats and whys" from the Shepherd's owners––in the end we had to kiss JoJo goodbye.
     Nearing the bend in the road this afternoon that led to the first facility, I felt the heat and memory of that day hammer at my spirit. I miss JoJo. Time needs time. And that's where I'm at right now.
     Grieving the loss of a pet who has reached his maximum life is difficult enough. Have you had a pet pass at an unexpected moment, at the hands of something you never envisioned in a million years? Is the loss any different?