You may be familiar with my Poetry Marathons – I’ve done them since winter, 2015. I take a week, several times a year, and devote it to poetry – writing, editing, all poetry-related activities.
This year, in addition to scheduling the regular long versions, I have decided to do one segment of a Marathon each week. Two to three hours set aside for poetry, outside my regular life. It’s called the Installment Plan Poetry Marathon.
For more background information, look here. And if you want to read previous posts in this series, search this blog under the term Installment Plan Poetry Marathon 2017.
It’s February 23, a mild spring-like day, and I am back at Chestnut Hill College, Logue Library. As I went in the front door at a little after 8 AM, I noticed some daffodils pushing themselves into the light.
I went up to the third floor and to my desk, feeling at home there, and set things up.
As usual, I walked around a little. It takes me some time to make the transition to quiet and focus. I found myself in the aisle containing books on math subjects. I noticed this book by Bevan K. Youse because just yesterday I happened on the term “real analysis”.
Here it was again. So I looked in the book itself. Oh my goodness. My math education stopped at Algebra II. From what I learned, real analysis is a branch or aspect of calculus. One that seems to be what you’d encounter well inside the calculus structure, not first thing out in the lobby.
The book dove right into the subject, I could see that, and every page galloped along at quite a pace, I think.
I have always been sorry that my math skills were not further developed, and I am respectful of those to whom this language makes sense. Going further along the aisle, I found another math book, maybe a bit more friendly:
Looking inside it, I decided, no, it wasn’t, not for me.
Instead, I moved to another aisle and flipped through these books. In their own way, they are as dense with information as the math books, with their discussions and descriptions of the crops and products of the land:
Once again, I thought about all the knowledge contained in just this one room, in all these books. People have spent years of their lives learning subjects in depth so as to be able to pass on that knowledge. It is humbling to think about.
On the way back to my desk, I passed the fire exit. I bet this staircase gets no attention from year to the next. So I decided to give it a featured spot here today.
All right, on to my own work. I followed the familiar pattern I’ve fallen into in the past few weeks. First, I looked over last week’s poems and did some revisions – taking a couple of hours. I was working slowly and enjoying that pace. Then I wrote some new ones – the kind of writing where I try to let me thoughts flow, and to put them on paper as they emerge, in the hopes of a form coalescing around an idea. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t, but you’d be surprised what is waiting inside your mind to be expressed, if you give it a chance.
Here is my favorite one from the day:
The very slow glide morning into afternoon
the damp early hours dropping out of the way
for a humid sun
to take hold of the day and fade it
into the warm-for-this-time-of-year night settled outside
the window cracked open
the eyes closed in sleep.