This morning, just before daybreak, I was up and in my kitchen, working on losing some nameless, unrecognizable feeling I'd been carrying around the last few days. While the coffee brewed, I opened the drapes, ready for the light to show its face. Buddy moved from the bedroom floor to the green chair in the living room and then went back to snoozing. I sat at the table, picked up a book of poetry, then opened it at random to see what it had to say. The poet was Raymond Carver, and the book was his collected poems entitled, All of Us. This is what I found on page 157:
Waking before sunrise, in a house not my own,
I hear a radio playing in the kitchen.
Mist drifts outside the window while
a woman's voice gives the news, and then the weather.
I hear that, and the sound of meat
as it connects with hot grease in the pan.
I listen some more, half asleep. It's like,
but not like, when I was a child and lay in bed,
in the dark, listening to a woman crying,
and a man's voice raised in anger, or despair,
the radio playing all the while. Instead,
what I hear this morning is the man of the house
saying "How many summers do I have left?
Answer me that." There's no answer from the woman
that I can hear. But what could she answer,
given such a question? In a minute,
I hear his voice speaking of someone who I think
must be long gone: "That man could say,
and move his audience to tears."
I get out of bed at once and draw on my pants.
Enough light in the room that I can see
where I am, finally. I'm a grown man, after all,
and these people are my friends. Things
are not going well for them just now. Or else
they're going better than ever
because they're up early and talking
about such things of consequence
as death and Mesopotamia. In any case,
I feel myself being drawn to the kitchen.
So much that is mysterious and important
is happening out there this morning.
~ Raymond Carver
Thank you, dear friend, for sending me the book of Carver poems. It had been on my internal wish list for the past few weeks. And then, last Friday morning, there was the UPS man, walking up my driveway with a package full of Raymond Carver poetry in hand, your gift note tucked inside: "He saw so much so clearly and, like Hopper, shattered all illusions." Thank you. Truly.
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