Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Daily Miracle

It happens every morning between 10 AM and 11 AM. A white paper comes flying out of the printer like some gull swooping. Peggy has written her daily poem. From out of the newspaper, scraps of a dream (up so floating), a memory (many spells down), a word or idea out of our breakfast conversation, or something seen from the window and lifted: a garbage truck, dog-walker or nesting dove. She transforms the base material of life, alchemically, to poetry. My constant amaze!

Robert Graves describes poetry as a visitation by the muse; what he calls the White Goddess from the moon rather than the Apollonian Sun God. He suggests a kind of trance. One with an inner-critic present to hone the craft. It is not willed but received. Not rhetoric however elevated but words and images allowed to mingle, merge and be reordered. There is a suspension of time. One writes as if in another dimension.

I’m not so sure I subscribe to the Graves construct. I see it more as a deep focus with both hemispheres of the brain in some sort of improvised tango. As for sources of inspiration I leave that as a happy mystery. Just as Peggy brings together disparate images in her poems so too does she call upon widely different voices resounding in her head. I can’t think of two poets further apart than the corporate insurance man from Connecticut and the revolutionary from Spain. Wallace Stevens say hello to Garcia Lorca. She regards both as mentors.

I’ve been there now and then for brief glimpses. To write as Peggy does every day is to live metaphorically on that plane. To breathe that rarefied air yet with her feet on the ground. It is not only a way of seeing and saying; it’s a way of being, how she lives each day. Her antennae are on alert at the ready for a divine reception. She writes with urgency of the immediate. She halts the clock, notices, listens, finds connectivity and re-frames the picture with leaps of language. The world is met and reconfigured, not wrestled into submission but released as what happens when falling in love.

Her emotional inner life (inscape) is profoundly engaged with the geopolitical landscape to compose its own rhythms and unexpected couplings. It is as if images enter by the back door or even through the walls.

In the hum of murmations / every bend adjusts astonished air. / Clouds contort, these mindless wheels / in the world without allegiance / Horses, round-rumped, dare me / to look away.

In the past five years Peggy has had about 140 poems accepted for publication in literary magazines. Her work appears in six continents (none in Antarctica, so far). Approaching her 97th birthday she is still in her prime…and that’s not the only reason I married her.

What continues cannot stay the past. / Each moment you and I must leave the static, / arrive at all the free wind / brings unlike the last. / Only spacious spirit reaches each to each / in a longing on and on.

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