Just about two weeks ’til half way. A year is a long time, in poems. I was off today and spent it grading essays. Lots and lots of essays. Sometimes this makes me happy, but often it puts me in a quiet mind, puzzling over the meaning of my life. It’s a cold, rainy night in the Northwoods, I’ve got sleepy blues on the Pandora, the mood should be set, but I feel antsy. I’miss my children. They were feeling a little homesick today, and I remember that feeling, that childhood yearning, so acutely that I’m gonna have to poem it. I remember getting swept up in plans to stay overnight with friends, going along with the enthusiasm of others until bedtime, when I would inevitably reach the conclusion that everything about where I was stay was just plain wrong and clearly I could not, in any way, stay there another minute. I remember calling my parents to retrieve me several times, with various friends, before I was able to stay over a whole night. It’s going to be a tough one, I can tell. Fuzzy Grading Brain.
When the shadows on the wall are the wrong shadows, lengthening into the wrong monsters, when the dread glissades into place, taking the stage with command, whispering, No, you are a visitor here, and unwelcome, this is all wrong for you, when the day’s bravura collapses and you can’t breathe, then it is time to phone home. The unquiet in a different home is no place to be at night. Voices like being found on the end of the line, like being found in the dark woods, relief comes in the highbeams up the gravel of the drive, great weary safetybelts of gratitude, and classic rock on the radio to lullaby us home. And wrapped for sleep in familiar scents, babyish but safe, it wasn’t that you were scared, exactly, no, not a baby, it is the other way ’round, that grownup feeling of learning what is important, and of great but fading instinct, that grows slowly unloosed and ignorable, this is the unlearning of our bird language as we reach from limb to limb in sleep.
Tonight is not an easy poem night. So it goes. Happy Tuesday!