Saturday, November 12, 2011

Still PL after all these years

I am counting down, months to blast off into civilian life again.  I am hoping I don't go into a worm hole of depression.  I think I will try to live the PL life after, not emeritus but as Michelle Holland says of me, "Poet Laureate ad nauseam."  I think she is my friend, I think we are laughing still.

I have two PL moments to document, the unseen and hidden.  The first one I was coming out of REI in the fashionable Railyard.  I love the Railyard, it is as close as a trip to the Northwest as I got this year.
It seems sort of Pike's Market/Vancouverish/ Portlandy. Anyhow, I am standing there and a man and his daughter and I start talking.  Somehow, and I don't know how, the topic comes around to me being the Poet Laureate.  Oh, I may have given the topic a gentle nudge in that direction.  And the old guy, grampa to the child, says Robert Frost lived in his old neighborhood.  And we start reciting "Whose Woods These Are I think I know." Between the two of us we get the entire poem and the little girl is awestruck.  She is six and so I give her my just about favorite poem:

"Now I am six
as clever as clever.
I want to be six
forever and ever."

It is by A. A. Milne who is also the Winnie the Pooh guy.  I have changed it to "Now I am sixty."
It works for me.  Anyhow, that was a PL moment and i had a recent one this week that may get away.
It is also Railyard, in the Flying Star.  I am meeting Mike for tea after my day at the Santa Fe Girls' School and his in construction.  As I walk in I pass a group of maybe six women all knitting away, a sweet sight.
I used to knit. I made gargantuan mittens with an orange deer sprawled across them, as if shot and draped across the hood of a truck.  I made a rainbow hippie sweater with a belt for my first pregnancy, all wool, sure wish I had it now.  I made a little hooded pancho for my girl, Corina, golden with a burgundy and green stripe, it looked like football colors but with a fringe.

When I sat down to read poems from the girls' school, the first poem was called "Marvelous Mittens."
The young poet, Thandiwah, had recently written one on turning cartwheels that knocked by very un-hand-knitted socks off.  This one was sweet to and when Mike joined me I felt a PL moment coming on.
I went over to the knitters and asked if I could read them a poem. They said okay, and some one even knew my name.  This is what I read:

Marvelous Mittens

Years before today my great grandmom met me.
Then I'll just assume she knit like crazy.
Light blue yarn flying
cream white dashing in and out.
Her accuracy in hand size is uncanny.
The wool is soft
and fluffs in every direction
Although they seem perfect
for playing and fighting in the snow
they'll get wet almost instantly.
And although she is lost
I feel close to her again
when I wear my wonderful
marvelous mittens.

The women loved it and Mike was really enjoying the PL me. The women invited me to join them, every Monday at one.  I don't even know how to cast on anymore.

I couldn't sleep all night, I loved another student poem so much.
Sometimes a poem haunts me all night, and this one by Gabriela did.

What is that in which you ask?
Where am I going?

I am going to the western land,
where my pride and joy both stand.

Yes I am going to the western land.

I am going where the Indians
catch their own hide,
and horses wait quietly ready to ride.

yes I am going to the western land.
I travel by horse not having a stack,
with only water and the clothes on my back.

Yes I am going to the western land.
Yes I am going to the western land,
where my pride and joy both  stand.

Yes I am going to the western land.

I am going to a place where all
men and women are free,
where children dance and play
with glee.

Yes I am going to the western land.

Yes I am going to the western land.
yes I am,
yes I am.

Both poems printed with permission of the poets.

So even in the night the PL is at work.   The local paper had a picture of my back and my long braid at the Española Farmers' Market biggest vegetable and best poem contest.   I like that.  There is a saying I heard about famous people, "The bigger the front the bigger the back."  It's the shadow again, that pesky real estate developer of hidden darkness.

I think casting the enthusiastic gift into community is the biggest help I could give any young poet.
Poetry is the medicine and the cure.  I offer it to people around me even if they don't want it.  Today at the pool an old guy started by complaining about his shoulder, then about stucco and soon we were at The Rapture.  I should have pulled the PL card on him.  Or recited e e cummings, "i thank you god for most this amazing day" or some other poetry jujitsu.  I retreated, leaving a wake of language in the pool.
Poetry is my rapture, small "r."

I am thinking of taking up knitting again.  I need  a back-up plan for apres- PL.

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