Good morning. It’s actually light as I type, a small token of hope from the heavens that spring is almost ready to wake up and show herself to us again. Clicking of my fingers my only sound. Steam from my coffee the only movement besides my fingers. A few little birds arriving early to greet with their songs before they realize spring is not here yet and go back into hiding. Another day. Another day in our song called life. Prairie Schooner sits next to me. Fall 2006. This is a quarterly publication from the University of Nebraska Press with various poetry and short writings. Two captured my thoughts and I know will be in my mind always now. Lines I’ll highlight that I had never thought of before and now will always think of because this author sat and wrote her thoughts for us. Her gift. Words. Triggering my desire for her wish in the first, and my love of her insight into memories in the second.
The Gift by Chana Bloch He tied a red ribbon around my wrist. Close your eyes. Make a wish. Don’t tell. And he tied three knots. Every table in that café gave off a particular clamor. around us the racket of spoons, forks, human lives. Inside me a scraping – dry, metallic. I made a wish in the privacy of my closed eyelids, believing, since the ribbon required it. From that moment the wish took breath though it had no voice. I moved among people and kept repeating it to myself. What’s that ribbon for? They asked, but I was so dutiful, so desperate, I mean – I was the only one I told. What he gave me was the power of speech unspoken, urgent, beating at the walls of the mind like a cricket throbbing in a fist – The gift was silence; the ribbon only a show of red on my wrist that shriveled to a knotted string. two and a half years that ribbon kept waking me. And the wish grew more hungry as I fed it, in secret, one silence at a time.
Trespass by Trana Bloch The man at that table, studying the menu, looks like someone I loved when I first started loving. He’s not the one, but he’ll do. I’m playing a god’s game with him: to see and not be seen. How solemn we were with our rickety Bricks and boards, Every doorpost marked with virgin blood For the First Time Ever. Oh how we loved To swear We will always remember. Forgetting is the most cunning of locks but it’s only a lock. Tonight that man without knowing it handed me a master key. I open the past with practiced fingers, helping myself to whatever I please. There’s a boundary between strangers like the green line on a map. Along the border, checkpoints: Stop! Hand over your papers! But now there’s no stopping. I’m nervy, elated – as if I’d sneaked past while the guard was sleeping and plundered a time zone. The stranger has his own stew to contend with. He hasn’t seen me. We won’t even nod. How could he know that this time I have come to take possession?
I love the line of opening the past, …helping myself to whatever I please. What I love about reading is finding a thought that I would have loved to have thought of myself, but a new friend formulated the thought for me. Plundered a time zone. Love that so much. …handed me a master key. Just loved that too. I was the only one I told. Loved that…the wish took breath though it had no voice…I fed it, in secret, one silence at a time. Beautiful. Thank you for letting me enter your Thursday morning. I hope you found lines in this beautiful poetry that you take with you as you hear silence. As you open your own doors to memories of your choice. Thank you for being in my life, for letting me think and write for you. Have a beautiful end of the long month of February. Spring buds are underground warming up for their entrance onto the stage. Susan
Mother Teresa on silence: We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…We need silence to be able to touch souls.
Helen Keller on memory: So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good.
silentium, silentio – silence
silentium est aureum – silence is golden
memoria – memory, to be mindful
memoratus in aeternum – forever remembered
Bloch, Chana. “The Gift.” “Trespass.” Prairie Schooner: University of NE Press, Fall 2006. 82-84. Print.