It's been raining for several hours, just a light rain, but it seems to be greening up out there as I watch. The leaves on the lilac bushes are finally emerging, and several trees are showing promise. I am looking forward to a bouquet of lilacs on my kitchen table.
When I moved back to Minnesota, I gave away a collection of old green vases, you probably know the ones, in a variety of shapes, sizes and designs. I briefly wondered if it had been the right decision when I saw all the flower beds here, but the day I arrived, I found that inside a cupboard, a green vase had been left behind. It was exactly like one of those I had given away the summer before. It will do just fine.
And so, it is the end of National Poetry Month, though I will continue to read one each day as I have been doing for some time. I often find they take the form of a prayer, a way to begin or end a day.
Last week, I was visiting with a friend who happened to mention one of her recent discoveries, a new poem that she enjoyed very much, simply titled, "Socks." It was by Pablo Neruda. He is a Chilean poet, now passed on, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. I had occasionally read a poem by him over the years, but none seemed to really grab me and so I moved on. After she mentioned him, I decided to find the poem she was referring to and give him another listen. When I read poetry, I feel as though I am listening to the poet, really hearing them speak the words they've written. It brings the poem to life for me. While I was reading, I came across another of his poems that I liked very much. Several lines stood out, leaving me with a feeling of wholeness, like a complete idea had been set forth. I decided to share it in honor of the closing of April.
Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.
This one time upon the earth,
let's not speak any language,
let's stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be a delicious moment,
without hurry, without locomotives,
all of us would be together
in a sudden uneasiness.
The fishermen in the cold sea
would do no harm to the whales
and the peasant gathering salt
would look at his torn hands.
Those who prepare green wars,
wars of gas, wars of fire,
victories without survivors,
would put on clean clothing
and would walk alongside their brothers
in the shade, without doing a thing.
What I want shouldn't be confused
with final inactivity:
life alone is what matters,
I want nothing to do with death.
If we weren't unanimous
about keeping our lives so much in motion,
if we could do nothing for once,
perhaps a great silence would
interrupt this sadness,
this never understanding ourselves
and threatening ourselves with death,
perhaps the earth is teaching us
when everything seems to be dead
and then everything is alive.
Now I will count to twelve
and you keep quiet and I'll go.
~ Pablo Neruda
Andrew Wyeth "Distant Thunder"