I dug the well an inch at a time
through matted grass, soil and gravel
clay and soft rock, down and down
’til at nine feet the water flowed.
The vein was slow when it first bled
but now the channel cleared of dross
pumps pure from the heart of earth
and cannot be turned off.
The link below will take you to a Spotlight Interview on the Annie’s Book Stop Web site. The interview, which features questions about the writing of The North End and about my writing life, is in anticipation of the reading and signing of the book that will take place at the store at 65 James St., Worcester, MA, on April 2, 2017, from 2-4 p.m.
I look forward to seeing you at the reading.
A granite chip, Heaney writes
is “jaggy, salty, punitive
and exacting. Come to me, it says
all of you who labor and are
burdened, I will not refresh you.
And, You can take me or leave me.”
These words of Heaney’s have entered in.
I know them true. What do I do with them
is the question. The “how” hard upon me,
I need to respond to the invitation
not knowing finally what
that response might mean.
Go with your first instinct.
Get it down quick before your critic
cuts in to take over the lead
for the dance of this poem
that’s only begun.
Go with the one who brought you.
On the slant of the schoolmaster desk
rest your cheek on the white paper.
Close to the wood, listen for the song
of the ax, for the drop of the blade,
for the lightning that rives the apple
tree with promise of spring and new
growth. The pain of riving done,
“Unless one stands upon one’s perch and sings, one is not a bird.”
From “The Flower,” by George Herbert
And now in age I bud again,
After so many deaths I live and write;
I once more smell the dew and rain
And relish versing: O, my only Light,
It cannot be
That I am he
On whom thy tempests fell all night.
You thought you were doing your best.
Be that as it may, you’re different today
after scores of years of living
in this singular body, this rescued soul.
Dedicate yourself as never before.
Sweep clean the house and prepare it to be
an altar, a table, where God comes down
where the first is last
and the last is best withal.