Friday, October 12, 2012

Poetry Friday

This morning I went looking for an old file of my poems; it took awhile to find it, tucked away in the back of the second drawer of my filing cabinet. Not in alphabetical position. I wonder how it got out of order—isn’t that just like poetry: never where you expect it to be. Yet, while I was looking for it, I thought, I haven’t had a new poem since back in June. Wonder why that is. Too busy? Probably. Not enough time just sitting a staring? Likely. No rain—yes, here, that would be the case; something about the rain that brings out the soul. After so many months of lovely sunny weather, Oregon seems to be back today and the weather experts are saying that it will be around for a while. Perhaps as the soil is watered so my soul will.

Searching back through my journal, I found this, dated June 2 and situated at the Benedictine Monastery, Mt. Angel. It is titled “Halfway to 70.” A momento mori.

Born in 1943, January,
I am 69. It is June.
Month six. Halfway to 70.
It occurs to me that halfway
is an apt metaphor of my life.

Standing in a door—the door
I’ve so often described to my
students: the door of life.
Of decision. Irrevocable. It
has a door knob on the
enter side—and nonesuch
on the other. If it shuts
behind, there you are.
Shut in front, there is
always the possibility that you
could open it again.

I stand in the doorway. Neither
in nor out. Some might call it
liminal space—all such times have
been times of potential. But
more like cowardice for me.

I’ve almost let it close behind
me. More than once. Never really,
though. At last moment, finger tips
gripping, I open it and
step back in.

Those who can’t, teach.

Perhaps it is that I am a
doorkeeper meant to keep it
open? To live on the verge.
In this space. To show others
the way through. Someone has to
be a doorkeeper.

That would be good;
If only it is true

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