… the moment one definitely commits
oneself, then Providence moves too.
The Scottish Himalayan Expedition
To walk from periphery to center is the longest walk
one makes in a given life. No matter when
it happens––at 3, 15, or 73––no matter, only
that it happens, lands you at the creating center
committed to fulfill the work of your life,
most immediately, the work of the day.
Who’s to say but you what the work is
discerned in silence and fed by a hundred moments
of deep joy. Go ahead. Take the walk of commitment
from periphery to center. I double-dare you
to fall down and kiss the ground that is creation
of which you are a part, so help you God.
Fly-specked and dusty and perfectly mine
is this space for poetry out of time
where worry troubles not the moted air.
Once over the threshold nary a care
can raise its fleecy bothersome head
demanding attention I’ve already shed
when doffing my coat and winter hat
and lighting a fire, spit-spat.
Done, I assume the writer’s seat
pick up the pen and relish the heat.
Ink on paper, word on tongue …
a chant that can be daily sung
to invoke the Muse in all its glory
and contribute one note to the human story.
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,