Tuesday, June 7, 2011


"Does anything in nature despair except man?
An animal with a foot caught in a trap does not seem to despair.
It is too busy trying to survive. It is all closed in, to a kind of still, intense waiting.
Is this a key? Keep busy with survival. Imitate the trees.
Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long,
not even pain, psychic pain.
Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go. "
-Journal Of Solitude-

I was in my thirties when I found May Sarton.
The "Fur Person" was first, a gift from someone who, like me,
was caretaker of a constant stream of needy, abandoned domestic animals,
but It was the journals that moved me most.  
Initially because they were given by that true friend,
then, for themselves alone. Their candor was comforting,
and the poetry of their prose was pure sensual pleasure. 
My favorites were the "Journal of Solitude", and "Plant Dreaming Deep".

I was in my Fifties,
beginning to perceive the tumultuous effects of my own aging process,
when I took up her later journals.  She became a vital companion once more, sharing losses with her steadfast enthusiasm
in the face of life's most difficult events.
Her company gave me courage to fully feel what I was feeling. 

Now I Become Myself
by May Sarton
Now I become myself. It's taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people's faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
"Hurry, you will be dead before--"
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
So all the poem is, can give,
Grows in me to become the song,
Made so and rooted by love.
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!

from Collected Poems 1930-1993
© W.W. Norton, 1993

"True feeling justifies whatever it may cost."


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