52 Poems: Week 25 Michael Ondaatje

Many of Ondaatje's lines haunt me. There are those graphs from The English Patient about the smell of dog paws and the lines about truth from Running in the Family... but here is a poem which I think might inspire a call of words tonight.

(If you want to read the quotes, here is a link to them on my Goodreads page).

Speaking To You (From Rock Bottom)

Michael Ondaatje

Speaking to you
this hour
these days when
I have lost the feather of poetry
and the rains
of separation
surround us tock
tock like Go tablets

Everyone has learned
to move carefully

'Dancing' 'laughing' 'bad taste'
is a memory
a tableau behind trees of law

In the midst of love for you
my wife's suffering
anger in every direction
and the children wise
as tough shrubs
but they are not tough
--so I fear
how anything can grow from this

all the wise blood
poured from little cuts
down into the sink

this hour it is not
your body I want
but your quiet company


52 Poems: Week 24 Dick Lourie on Forgiving our Fathers

It's Father's Day and for me it's a fairly uncomplicated day. I don't live close enough to spend the day with my dad, and my husband is easy-going when it comes to holidays like this. But the relationships we have with our fathers, whether our fathers are still with us or not, are complicated.

I love how this poem captures that.

You might recognize it from the last scene in the movie Smoke Signals based on Sherman Alexie's short story "This is What It Means to Say Pheonix, Arizona" from his collection Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.

How Do We Forgive Our Fathers?
By Dick Lourie

How do we forgive our Fathers?
Maybe in a dream
Do we forgive our Fathers for leaving us too often or forever
when we were little?
Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage
or making us nervous
because there never seemed to be any rage there at all.

Do we forgive our Fathers for marrying or not marrying our Mothers?
For Divorcing or not divorcing our Mothers?

And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness?
Shall we forgive them for pushing or leaning
for shutting doors
for speaking through walls
or never speaking
or never being silent?

Do we forgive our Fathers in our age or in theirs
or their deaths
saying it to them or not saying it?

If we forgive our Fathers what is left?


52 Poems: Week 23 Achilles

On Tuesday, September 25, 2012, I tore my Achilles' tendon. I was coaching our girls' flag football team and we were a couple of players short, so I jumped in to rush the quarterback. I stood there assessing the severity of the injury, then hobbled across the hot asphalt of the South Field, eventually making my way to my classroom on crutches. A visit to the ER diagnosed a ruptured Achilles' tendon and a week later I had surgery. Several splints, a cast, months of physical therapy, and 37 weeks later, I am clear to return to work at full capacity with no follow-up appointment. It took forever and I'm still not 100% but I'm getting there. You can read about it on my sports blog

At the time, it was hard to see any positives about my Achilles' injury, but looking back there are several things I'm grateful for about the timing. It happened in the fall but far enough before winter break that I was out of my boot for the holidays. Kiara wasn't crawling yet so I could still keep an eye on baby-girl while immobile. And now summer is here and I'm in the clear! The body's ability to heal is amazing. So here is "Achilles" from my poetry collection: A Life in Revision: Reflections of Motherhood about that day...


On a day when I was not thinking of you
when I was a handful of miles away
playing games in the heat of the day
the tendon that cripples gods
tore and splintered leaving me lame.

I hadn’t been thankful that morning
of walking and holding you in my arms
but it would be several months
before I could ever do that again.


52 Poems: Week 22 Conception

At Beckie and Gearin's nuptials,
you were there with Gray and Lucas.
If you have been on this ride with us for a while, you know the journey to Kiara started way back in 2009. I wrote a post, Fertile Soil, about the miscarriage which had me worried about getting pregnant again. And if you do the math, Kiara, born in 2012, took quiet some time. I wrote an update in 2010 and then finally announced good news in 2011. And once Kiara arrived, that journey to get pregnant faded away, until we started trying again. Yep, we're trying again. Wish us luck. Here's a poem from my collection about a piece of that journey. A Life in Revision: Reflections on Motherhood.


I wish it was more magical,
more an experience of the earth,
a spontaneous moment of passion
between your mother and father
on a tropical vacation during summer break.

Instead, your conception, the beautiful moment
when the egg and sperm collided
and cells divided forming the beginnings of you,
was a sterile miracle
in a doctor’s office on Sunset in Hollywood.

I suppose it was magical
the shots in my belly
the long freeway drive
the hollow straw
and Dr. Jabara on a holiday weekend.

Then there were the weddings we attended
with the secret of you growing in my womb
and the holiday season that passed,
all of us so anxious for your arrival.
It is magic—and miracle.
You are here.