Here is Jane's poem of this morning. I was working with questions we want to ask those who read "Breast Stroke." We are trying to get as much done as we can on promotion of the book before I go to Hong Kong tomorrow, so I am in a bit of scurrying mode, calmly, though, of course, always calm. It is important to stretch time on the wings of calm, and sometimes I spread those wings on a bit of a rush, unlike the egrets who steadily stalk the marsh.
Jane writes from her experience while she was in New Mexico.
Wide awake at midnight
I find a single star
spilled from the sail of sky
It hangs beside the pinon tree.
When at last sleep comes
the star beyond
my window’s frame.
- Jane Flint
This poem is from the book by Ellen Bass The Human Line.
If You Knew
What if you knew you'd be the last
to touch someone?
If you were taking tickets, for example,
at the theater, tearing them,
giving back the ragged stubs,
you might take care to touch that palm,
brush your fingertips
along the life line's crease.
When a man pulls his wheeled suitcase
too slowly through the airport, when
the car in front of me doesn't signal,
when the clerk at the pharmacy
won't say Thank you, I don't remember
they're going to die.
A friend told me she'd been with her aunt.
They'd just had lunch and the waiter,
a young gay man with plum black eyes,
joked as he served the coffee, kissed
her aunt's powdered cheek when they left.
Then they walked half a block and her aunt
dropped dead on the sidewalk.
How close does the dragon's spume
have to come? How wide does the crack
in heaven have to split?
What would people look like
if we could see them as they are,
soaked in honey, stung and swollen,
reckless, pinned against time?
- Ellen Bass
Here are two comments by Marvin Bell.
"Prose is prose because of what it includes; poetry is poetry because of what it leaves out."
"Art is a way of life, not a career."
You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
- Franz Kafka