She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems selections by Caroline Kennedy – Susan’s Newsletter April 2011 & Oct 2012

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She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems selections by Caroline Kennedy
October 18, 2012 Susan’s Newsletter
     Little moments we remember after someone we love dies.

     From “Clearances,” In Memoriam M.K. H., (1911-1984) by Seamus Heaney

followed by April 28, 2011 Susan’s Newsletter
     High School Senior by Sharon Olds
 
October 18, 2012 Newsletter:
Good morning!!  No stillness this morning.  Incessant winds.  Howling.  But, viewing inside, perfect filler with coffee mixed in, crazy cats tearing through, little tornado pushing around Big Red Dog…again, the little gifts that make life beautiful.
 
Every morning, every afternoon there is a momentary thought of my mom…daily…day after day, year after year.  In my head, regardless of all other conversations or stories around me.  Every single moment that I pour my wonderful coffee into my mug.  For every time that I make the seemingly easy transfer coffee spills onto the floor.  Every time.  And every time that the coffee spills onto the side of the cabinets leading to the floor, and then to my feet, I for a moment miss my mom.  The littlest event of my day triggering this memory.  I was reading out of a collection of beautiful poetry compiled by Caroline Kennedy this week.  One of my favorite books to open when I might be restless, or tired, or just knowing I could use something to satisfy my mind and bring the disconnections of a day into a quiet, meaningful moment. 
 
One poem which I read several times has stayed in my mind was written by a son in memory of his mother.  A poem about a moment in their lives where they had silently peeled potatoes together, but this moment being the memory that was in his mind as she approached death.  A beautiful moment.  Something so insignificant affecting his memory.  I immediately thought of the coffee spills…how we would wipe them up anytime we knewsomeone was coming over, how I now wipe them up anytime I know someone is coming…how at the store I smile to myself each time I pour each of you a cup of coffee and I spill…the one mess I regularly make that gives me peace and a good memory.  I have a feeling each of you can think of those that have died in your life that a memory is in your mind that was insignificant at the time, but beautiful now.  I love poems like this one.  I just love this and hope you do also.
 
From “Clearances,” In Memoriam M.K. H., (1911-1984) by Seamus Heaney
 
When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall.  Little pleasant splashes
From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.
 
So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bend towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives–
Never closer the rest of our lives.
 
Thank you for letting me again enter your Thursday…today is a beautiful gift.  Regardless of realities, the time we have is a gift.  Tonight we will have the chance to write an epitaph in stone within our minds as we lay down.  An epitaph on the moments that are gone.  Will we make the moments today worthy of the gift?  Moments we will never have again.  Will we notice the funny hairs sticking out on the back of our children’s heads?  Will we notice their twinkly eyes?  Will we notice their tears when they need us?  If not our children, any we meet?  Will we notice.  If we have no energy for people, will we notice the leaves?  The designs the winds are creating as the leaves fly around us?  Will we notice the smells of fall?  Will we notice how good ice cream tastes?  Will we notice anything about life that is a gift?  One chance.  Beautiful life.  Susan
 
May today there be peace within by St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)
 
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the
   love that
has been given to you…
May you be content knowing you are a child of God…
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the
   freedom to
sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.
 

Latin for this week:
memoratus in aeternum – forever remembered
empus omnia sed memorias privat – Time deprives all but memories
memoriamemory, remembrance, recall, recollection
April 28, 2011 Newsletter:
Good morning (almost afternoon!)!   FINALLY our first tulip opened this morning…for two days we can live the elusive idea of spring until it’s cold again!   This week I received a book I’ve looked forward to opening, a new book of poetry selected by Caroline Kennedy, She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems.  This beautiful book is a compilation divided into milestones of a woman’s life…including these sections: falling in love, breaking up, friendship, marriage, motherhood, work, beauty, silence, solitude, growing up, growing old, friendship, death & grief, how to live.  I have had a hard time deciding which to enter for you today, but love one on a daughter graduating – for the words remind me of every stage of letting go of our children’s presence, regardless of baby to toddler, toddler to childhood, young adults, graduations, weddings, moving, possibly death….all in relationships with those we love, even if not our children.  The final few lines – how they are in us…changing chambers in our hearts as we go through changes….I love the picture.  The next poem is a beautiful blessing and prayer – accepting our gift of life, regardless of what we have, what we wish for, what we’ve lost – the remembrance of the beauty of the day given to us.  Life.  We are where we are meant to be.  This would be a beautiful Mother’s Day gift.  It just came out, so only in hardback, but let me know if you’d like me to get one in for you!
 
 
High School Senior by Sharon Olds
 
For seventeen years, her breath in the house
at night, puff, puff, like summer
cumulus above her bed,
and her scalp smelling of apricots
– this being who had formed within me,
squatted like a bright tree-frog in the dark,
like an eohippus she had come out of history
slowly, through me, into the daylight,
I had the daily sight of her,
like food or air she was there, like a mother.
I say “college,” but I feel as if I cannot tell
the difference between her leaving for college
and our parting forever – I try to see
this house without her, without her pure
depth of feeling, without her creek-brown hair, her daedal hands with their tapered
fingers, her pupils dark as the mourning cloak’s
wing, but I can’t.  Seventeen years
ago, in this room, she moved inside me,
I looked at the river, I could not imagine
my life with her.  I gazed across the street,
and saw, in the icy winter sun,
a column of steam rush up away from the earth.
There are creatures whose children float away
at birth, and those who throat-feed their young
for weeks and never see them again.  My daughter
is free and she is in me – no, my love
of her is in me, moving in my heart,
changing chambers, like something poured
from hand to hand, to be weighed and then reweighed.
 
 
May today there be peace within by St. Teresa of Avila
 
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the
    love that
has been given to you…
May you be content knowing you are a child of God…
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the
    freedom to
sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.
 
Have a beautiful day!  Take time to do something for your soul…read poetry, read a great book, read a line (grin), something to think about that isn’t just the realities of a normal day.  May you have peace within, as St. Teresa of Avila writes for us.  Such beautiful words.  Thank you for all your encouragement, your notes, your business – we love having our store and finding treasures!  Three more days this month to register for our drawing!  I hope you will have a chance to run in & help with our gift certificate give-away – get in on this with us if you need a few gifts!   If you don’t live near here, you can call and we can send gifts or gift certificates for you & enter you in the drawing, also!   Susan

 

 


 
Latin for this week:
alis volat propriss – She flies with her own wings.
 
Works Cited:
Kennedy, Caroline.  She Walks in Beauty.  New York.  Harper Collins.  2011.