Monday, February 18, 2008

I’ll live this hour

Until ten I lived my now
sleeping under large stones among crabs and anemones
searching for unbroken sand dollars and sometimes
drifting between sky and silvery waters on the lake of rocks
just he and I, needing few words
then death brushed my cheek
as it took him
and I began to grow up

From ten to twenty I lived for later
staying up all night until tomorrow came
wondering who would love me so I could love myself
rushing fast forward into my future
I barely felt more
than a fleeting moment
of his memory
as I grew up too soon

From twenty to thirty I lived looking back
waking from nightmares of possession
exhuming and rearranging bones of past mistakes
stirring ashes of every old grievance
for a few shining minutes
he returned to sit beside me
held my hand
as I grew old before my time

After thirty I resolved to create a new now
conceiving life afresh from ashes and bones
savoring late afternoon scent of lilacs, honeysuckle, cut grass
hovering between past perfect and future participle
and he is watching me
fulfill our shared destiny
of joy in word and deed
living in this hour.

The prompt at Writers Island this week was "time travel". I've never had a desire to travel anywhere (anywhen?) in time, but I used to live less in the present than I do now, and reflecting on that became my initial impetus for a poem. As my ideas about being in the moment coalesced, my mind went to the title of one of my grandfather's novels, "I'll Live This Hour"—which made perfect sense, because I had already been writing the poem about us.


aubrey said...

katie, this was beautiful. i think this is my favorite of your poems so far.

and i've been meaning to say to you, to thank you for tagging me to write that poem last week. i had been feeling very creatively dry and not knowing how to get it back. and that poem (if that's what i can call it) truly did the trick. it surged creativity back into me and i am so grateful. so, thank you!

paisley said...

i really thought this was touching... not only in the glorious tribute it paid to your grandfather,, but as a reminder to live in the moment... i am ever so guilty of never really having done that... just beautiful...

Crafty Green Poet said...

changing perspectives, this is something that children do get so right

gautami tripathy said...

What a beautiful tribute. I have great regards for my maternal grandmother. Your post took me to her. Thanks.

One of your best posts!

seeds travelling through time

Anonymous said...

This has happened to me too. I too 'live by the day'

Beautiful thought flow.

anthonynorth said...

This was excellent! Worth the wait.

LittleWing said...

really enjoyed your stepping stones of now, later, looking back and a new now... truth of life reflected... it is a beautiful tribute to he who died...

chckkysmile said...

This is Amazing.
Without contest the most touching poem I've ever read.
How beautiful that you could conjure memories in me that I don't even have and cause Mom and I to cry together in the back bedroom.
Thank you.

chicklegirl said...

Aubrey--thank you. I'm so glad you took my challenge because your poem is really beautiful. And I'm glad it rekindled your creativity, too!

Paisley--living in the moment is hard; as you can see from this, it took me a long time to figure out how to do it (and some days are still not easy!)

Crafty--yes, my kids are always teaching me that!

Gautami--grandparents are such a treasure!

Grevathi, Anthony, Littlewing--thank you!

Meredith--wow. I'm glad it touched you so deeply. I wish you could have known him; he would have loved you so! But you will, one day...