Wednesday, January 4, 2017

January 4: Stale Licorice, Feeling Sorry for Myself, Jospeh Brodsky, "1 January 1965"

I'm sitting in my office at the university right now, gnawing on a stick of old, stale licorice.  I don't know why I'm eating it.  It was in my desk cabinet, a package of Twizzlers opened before Christmas and forgotten.  Tough as beef jerky.

I've been feeling fairly sorry for myself this evening.  No particular reason.  It's just this gloomy haze that's settled on me.  I have a few more hours before my daughter will be done with dance.  The university campus is still pretty barren.  Classes don't start for another couple weeks.  I've heard a few people walking down the hallway.  But I can see darkness sitting at the bottom of my office door now.

Another bite of the licorice.

I have a New Year poem again tonight.  It's by Joseph Brodsky, from his collection Nativity Poems.  Disclaimer:  it isn't very uplifting until the very end.

Saint Marty is going to throw out the rest of the licorice now, before he cracks a tooth on it.

1 January 1965

by:  Joseph Brodsky

The Wise Men will unlearn your name.
Above your head no star will flame.
One weary sound will be the same—
the hoarse roar of the gale.
The shadows fall from your tired eyes
as your lone bedside candle dies,
for here the calendar breeds nights
till stores of candles fail.

What prompts this melancholy key?
A long familiar melody.
It sounds again. So let it be.
Let it sound from this night.
Let it sound in my hour of  death—
as gratefulness of eyes and lips
for that which sometimes makes us lift
our gaze to the far sky.

You glare in silence at the wall.
Your stocking gapes: no gifts at all.
It's clear that you are now too old
to trust in good Saint Nick;
that it's too late for miracles.
—But suddenly, lifting your eyes
to heaven's light, you realize:
your life is a sheer gift.

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