Saturday, November 25, 2017

November 25: Update on My Father, Sharon Olds, "Ode to Dirt"

Update on my father:

He is still in the hospital.  Tomorrow or the next day, if everything goes well, he will be transferred to a local nursing home.  At the moment, the doctor is attempting to regulate his blood pressure, which has been a little high.  He is suffering from urinary retention for some unknown reason.  It might have something to do with prostate cancer, for which he has been treated in the past.

If it is prostate cancer, we will probably not seek any kind of treatment.  My father's 90 years old.  He probably would not survive any kind of chemotherapy.  At this point, it's all about making him as comfortable as we can.

Of course, these events make a person contemplate mortality.  My father is not going to get better.  That is a fact.  His quality of life will probably improve at the nursing home, where he will be under constant care.  However, the nursing home will be the last place he lives, for however long that is.

It's all about honoring the work my father did as a father and husband now.  Preparing for the ground and dust to come.

Saint Marty needs to remember that.

Ode to Dirt

by:  Sharon Olds

Dear dirt, I am sorry I slighted you,
I thought that you were only the background
for the leading characters--the plants
and animals and human animals.
It's as if I had loved only the stars
and not the sky which gave them space
in which to shine.  Subtle, various,
sensitive, you are the skin of our terrain,
you're our democracy.  When I understood
I have never honored you as a living
equal, I was ashamed of myself,
as if I had not recognized
a character who looked so different from me,
but now I can see us all, made of the
same basic materials--
cousins of that first exploding from nothing--
in our intricate equation together.  O dirt,
help us find ways to serve your life,
you who have brought us forth, and fed us,
and who at the end will take us in
and rotate with us, and wobble, and orbit.

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