It started with my telling my dad, at our coffee shop of choice, about Colum McCann’s reference point in writing. Beautiful in its simplicity, McCann referred to James Wright, poet, and Wright’s poem that ends with the sentiment, ‘ I have wasted my life’.
Dad, apparently inspired by our conversation, went over to our local bookstore. He couldn’t find James Wright’s work. But he found Charles Wright, and discovered his poetic voice reverberated with James Wright’s sentiments in McCann’s favorite poem.
So Dad lent me Charles Wright’s books of poetry, Caribou- poems.
And I will share with you one of my favorites from that book.
“I’VE BEEN SITTING HERE THINKING
BACK OVER MY LIFE…”
We are all going into a world of dark.
And that’s okay,
Given the wing-wrung alternative.
It’s okay. That’s where the secrets are,
The big ones, the ones too tall to tell
The way in is twisty and tortuous,
But easy, they say, easy.
The way out, however, is unavailable, and not to be mimed.
Hard to remember that when the full moon
Offers its efficacy
Downwind through the winter weeds,
Unpeeling its limitless hope.
But not, at least for tonight, for us.
Not for us, bystanders back from the river of light.
So file down your fingertips, boys,
And pull on your skins.
Incandescence is temporary, we know, but it still shines.
And that’s it. My life has been spent
Trying to leave it.
As though an invisible figure in a Schneeman landscape of
I’ve always wanted to be elsewhere,
Hair on fire, a radiance
My shoes golden, my heart tucked away
Back under my shirtsleeve.
Not now, not ever, the world in winter.
And this is what comforts us,
Bare trees, bare streets, bare expectations.
Our lives are spent here,
Our ho-hum and sweet, existential lives,
Stories of cirrus and cumulus.
And why not, this world has been good to us,
The sun goes up and the sun
Goes down, the stars release and disappear,
everything tutta gloria wherever we turn our faces.
By Charles Wright, p. 32,33, from Caribou—poems
In closing, I’d say: it is funny how inter-connections can open up a whole new world!