Sunday, April 17, 2016

April 16: The Muse, Billy Joel, Donald Hall

Michael Goldman wrote in a poem, "When the Muse comes She doesn't tell you to write; / She says get up for a minute, I've something to show you, stand here."  What made me look up at that roadside tree?

I love this little quote that Dillard uses.  She's writing about inspiration.  For her, at this particular moment, it is a tree.  But, at another moment, it may be moonlight in a mud puddle or a cloud of mosquitoes attacking a porch light.  The Muse comes when the Muse comes, and the poet just needs to step aside and let her work her magic.

It has been a busy day.  My daughter danced this afternoon.  A tap dance solo to Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire."  It was the first time I've seen her solo.  She did a great job.  The other dancers were great, too.  I'm always amazed at the level of talent at these competitions.  When I watch these dances, I can tell when the Muse is with the dancer.  There's something extra present.  An energy or technique or connection to the music. 

My daughter received an Outstanding Award for her solo.  That's like a gold medal.  I am so proud of her.  She has the Muse, is my Muse.  I know how much she loves to dance, and when I watch her, I can tell when the music takes over.  It's like that moment when I'm writing and something just drops out of the air onto the page.  Something totally unexpected and beautiful.  A sparkle of tinfoil in a robin's nest.

This morning, I went shopping with my son, daughter, and daughter's boyfriend.  We hit Toys-R-Us first.  Then we headed to Barnes & Noble.  I haven't been to an actual Barnes & Noble in years.  I didn't think they still existed.  I found a new book by Donald Hall.  Essays after Eighty.  I've already read about 15 or 20 pages, where Hall talks about that fact that poems don't come to him anymore.  "Prose endures," Hall writes. 

I find that a little depressing.  Donald Hall has been one of my poet heroes for a long time.  I met him a few years ago.  I attended a dinner in his honor.  He was a lovely man.  Close to 90 years old and still sharp as a shard of glass.  The fact that I will never read a new Donald Hall poem again makes the world a little less bright. 

Yet, Hall's prose contains moments of absolute poetry.  The Muse is still visiting him, even in his old age, as he sits by the window in his house and watches snow coat the world.  So, that gives me hope.  My daughter has the Muse.  Donald Hall has the muse.  And tomorrow, I will go watch my daughter dance again.

Saint Marty is having an a-Musing weekend.

One of my favorite pictures

No comments:

Post a Comment