Saturday, May 10, 2014

May 10: Center of the Web, Sharon Olds, "His Terror," New Cartoon

She descended to the center of the web and there she began to cut some of her lines.  She worked slowly but steadily while the other creatures drowsed.  None of the others, not even the goose, noticed that she was at work.  Deep in his soft bed, Wilbur snoozed.  Over in their favorite corner, the goslings whistled a night song.

Again, this description of Charlotte at work on her web is a great metaphor for the writing process.  Writing is a very solitary act, done while others go about life's normal rhythms.  While Charlotte weaves, the other creatures drowse, snooze, and whistle night songs.

I am still at work on the poem for my brother's funeral.  I have made little progress.  However, I'm not at the panic stage yet.  That will come tomorrow night.

I'm sort of stuck on Sharon Olds' book The Father at the moment.  Therefore, tonight's poem comes from that collection:

His Terror

He loves the portable altar the minister
brings to the hospital, its tiny cruets and
phials, its cross that stands up
when the lid opens, like the ballerina who un-
bent, when I opened my jewelry box, she
rose and twirled like the dead.  Then the lid
folded her down, bowing, in the dark,
the way I would wait, under my bed,
for morning.  My father has forgotten that,
he opens his mouth for the porous disc
to be laid on his tongue, he loves to call the minister Father.
And yet, somewhere in his body, is there terror?
The lumps of the cancer are everywhere now,
he can lay his palm where they swell his skin, he can
finger the holes where the surgeon has been in him.
He asks me to touch them.
Maybe his terror is not of dying,
or even of death, but of some cry
he has kept inside him all his life
and there are weeks left.

It's a beautiful, terrifying poem.  It's totally Sharon Olds in all its raw honesty.

Saint Marty should be so lucky to write such a poem for his brother.

Confessions of Saint Marty


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