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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I believe that all poets are winged






Being Boring

by Wendy Cope

'May you live in interesting times.' Chinese curse

If you ask me 'What's new?', I have nothing to say
Except that the garden is growing.
I had a slight cold but it's better today.
I'm content with the way things are going.
Yes, he is the same as he usually is,
Still eating and sleeping and snoring.
I get on with my work. He gets on with his.
I know this is all very boring.

There was drama enough in my turbulent past:
Tears and passion - I've used up a tankful.
No news is good news, and long may it last.
If nothing much happens, I'm thankful.
A happier cabbage you never did see,
My vegetable spirits are soaring.
If you're after excitement, steer well clear of me.
I want to go on being boring.

I don't go to parties. Well, what are they for,
If you don't need to find a new lover?
You drink and you listen and drink a bit more
And you take the next day to recover.
Someone to stay home with was all my desire
And, now that I've found a safe mooring,
I've just one ambition in life: I aspire
To go on and on being boring.






There's a lot to be said for being boring, isn't there?

There's a lot to be said for avoiding drama and just getting down to the work.

My work is to be boring, I sometimes think.






I've been thinking about this piece from Brevity magazine by A. Papatya Bucak since I read it. You might remember me sharing it here quite some time ago. I needed to reread it yesterday, and thought you might need it too. An excerpt:



"My work is to stop everything when a student—right in front of me—writes the line, “I think I would be a better dancer if only I had wings.” 
My work is to believe in grace even though I don’t believe in God. To realize that all of my greatest fears are things that are definitely going to come true. My father will die, my mother will die, my brother will, my niece, my nephew, me. 
My work is to pay attention when my mother says, “I cried all of my tears that first year I lived in Turkey.” To pay attention when my mother says of her freshman roommate, “It was like Tigger rooming with Owl.” To pay attention when my father says, “You should sit by my side and write down everything I say like the Prophet.” To pay attention when my father says, “Chickens are braver than us.” To pay attention when my nephew says to his sister, “All of your teeth are sweet teeth.” To pay attention when my nephew says to me, “I’d like to see how long you’d last in Azkaban without a book.” 
My work is to tell you that without art we would be in a world without art.
My work is the blood on the heels of my socks in high school because I ran hard sometimes, but not always, so that my calluses came and went.
My work is to honor the glory of trash day, all of those cans lined up before dawn, an obedient nation in this one instance only.
My work is to believe in everybody’s capacity for kindness. 
My work is to believe in everybody’s capacity for cruelty.
 My work is the bird of dawn, the tale of my grief, the thief of love, the city of beauties, the nest of snakes, the helping animal, the animated doll, the transformative power of love, the juice of a single grape.
My work is to imagine a world without art so that there is never a world without art."

{read the entire piece here}





The wonderful line about the dance student who would be better if "only I had wings" reminded me of these lines from Mary Ruefle, from that incredible and necessary book, Madness, Rack and Honey:


"I believe that all poets are winged, and some can fly and some cannot, and that having wings is their distinguishing feature, not whether they can fly." 



My work this morning is to imagine all the poets sitting at their desks in the early morning, drinking their coffee, nibbling at some cinnamon toast, their wings tucked awkwardly behind them.

My work is to remind you that you have your work.




3 comments:

  1. What a fantastic post this is. I think you just scotch taped some wings on me! Thank you for that - I needed some.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a fantastic post this is. I think you just scotch taped some wings on me! Thank you for that - I needed some.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a fantastic post this is. I think you just scotch taped some wings on me! Thank you for that - I needed some.

    ReplyDelete

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