Monday, February 20, 2012

How the World Works When We Let It




"My Husband Never Takes Me Anywhere"

My husband never takes me anywhere,
so I sometimes, you understand,
envy my city friends who have
Twyla Tharp,
"Long Day's Journey Into Night,"
and Wynton Marsalis
at their fingertips.
Oh, I know,
we went for a jeep ride
up the Ramsey Road
stopping at the beaver pond
just in time to see
a flock of mergansers settle in.
And we walked the length of Indian
     Island last July,
picking Indian paintbrush and wading
     in the back cove.
And just this spring
we rode our bikes to Willow Creek
where the fish were running.
So many you could catch them with
     your hands.

Another season goes by.
I guess
Grant Wood,
"Moon for the Misbegotten,"
and Baryshnikov
will have to wait again.
You see, it isn't easy
having a husband who never takes you
     anywhere.
I have to settle for
bald eagles circling the white pines
across the "second bay,"
bumblebees buzzing the lilacs on the
     bank,
and riding with George
as he steers our canoe
through a slice of silver moon
on Whitefish Lake.


~ Teresa Claire Coughlin




I am Teresa Claire Coughlin, or was in an earlier "incarnation."  This poem was published one summer in the mid-1980's by The Christian Science Monitor. This international and well-respected newspaper would sometimes publish unknown or little known poets as well as poets of some note on their Home Forum page. I belonged, of course, in that first category. But, about a week after my poem was published, they published one by Ted Hughes. I felt I was in awfully good company, poetically speaking.

I can still recall how happy I was when I walked the half mile to our mailbox at the end of the road to find an acceptance letter from them which read (believe me, I remember this), "We would be delighted to publish your poem..."

George and I, married for ten years, divorced now for over twenty, have remained friends, for which I'm very grateful, and not just because of our son, Coleman, but because it's how the world should work when relationships change, how the world does work when we let it.







The images are my own, taken last spring, of my place along the river.

82 comments:

  1. That's beautiful, Teresa!! What a message in those images. It does not surprise me that you write poetry or that you have been published.

    Lovely, perfect pictures to illustrate nowhere. ;)

    I'd absolutely love for you to post more of what you have written. Maybe you already have elsewhere in your blog. If you have, please let me know because I am a newer follower.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words, Rita. This is the first time I've posted a poem. I decided it was time, after more than a few messages from different sources. For some reason, writing poetry makes me feel more vulnerable, something I've not been good at, but am hoping that is about to change. :)

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  2. >>>> because it's how the world should work when relationships change, how the world does work, when we let it.

    What a beautiful thing.

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  3. Teresa -- I knew you were an accomplished writer just by reading your wonderful posts. What an honor to be recognized and published by such a prestigious newspaper as the Christian Science Monitor. A much belated congratulations. -- barbara

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    1. Thank you so much, Barbara. Yes, it really was an honor.

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  4. Thanks for the lovely poem! You are so very talented! I know well the feeling of vulnerability that comes from adding too much of your Self into the 'public persona' on your blog. Sometimes, it get so nervous about posting something, I have to delete it.

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    1. Oh, Janice, I've done that, too - deleted something that just made me too nervous. It's not easy, letting ourselves be vulnerable, but maybe some great good can come of it, for ourselves and others.

      Thank you!

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  5. Great poem, Teresa...

    You live along that gorgeous river? oh, my... that's what I long for.

    Great post... my husband and I are going through transition and well... ;)

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    1. Yes, Carolyn, I do. It's a beautiful place to Be.

      I hope your transition will be harmonious and life for both of you will continue to unfold in peace.

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  6. Wow. The secret to being awesome is being genuine. You're both, and we're lucky to have you.

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    1. And I, good man, am very grateful for this friendship. Thank you.

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  7. You did real good Teresa! So good that I think it deserves more than just words of honor; a trophy would be more appropriate. How so often we miss what we have before our very eyes.

    By the pictures, I'm thinking you already have a slice of paradise. That water scene takes my breath away. Now tell me its sensually warm also, as the picture implies

    May I come live there too: I'll stay from underfoot and just float about the whole time, accompanied by that "Starwalkers" music I put on today!

    Please hurry and give us more your 'really good' postings.

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    1. Sissy, You are so sweet and kind.

      It is a beautiful place here. My kids call it exactly that: my "slice of paradise." The river is not so sensually warm right now, but in the summer....

      That Starwalkers music sounds nice.

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  8. Beautiful, Teresa. It's set in motion some thoughts in my head, which is always a good thing.

    Pearl

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    1. Hey Pearl, Thanks. I trust you're feeling better by the minute.

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    1. It is a good life, Sandy. Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. A friend just told me the other day.."It is not meant to be complicated". You are both right...

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    1. I believe the greatest truths are found in the simplest things, and need few words.

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  11. I love this poem, Teresa. I was living your life in reverse, more or less. As a Twin Citian, I did see Twyla Tharp and Baryshnikov and Grant Wood and not those plays but others. But I'd had nobody to take north, to share loons and blueberries and fishing and seeing the Milky Way over the lake. As Teresa Claire Coughlin knew, being out in nature is much more sustaining than sitting in a theater, no matter how inspiring the performance.

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    1. Hi Nancy, My life went on to include many of those types of things, but I have returned to this place where nature does, indeed, sustain me, and makes my life feel whole and good. I just returned from feeding the birds before the coming snow. Watching them is all the performance I need. Except for maybe watching Mark Rylance in a play. That might be nice.... :)

      Thanks so much.

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  12. This is a most beautiful poem... reminiscent of Mary Oliver. It's so perfectly written that there is no doubt that you were published that summer so long ago. Ted Hughes would have been impressed, I'm sure of it.

    This poem is the reflection in and of the last photo and the reason for finding peace in a place deeply one's own... in the eternal grasp of what brings you happiness.
    Share poems more often, please.

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    1. Thank you so much, farmlady. Those are awfully nice words to read. I appreciate your response very much. I have found a good place here, just right for me.

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  13. This is a wonderful poem and should be ranked with Ted Hughes. Are you still writing poems? I hope so!

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    1. Thank you, Cait. I have written others, but not in a dedicated, or disciplined fashion. I am changing that. I'm going to make it a bigger part of my life now. It took courage to share it and so we shall see... Thanks for your en-couragement!

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  14. My goodness, Teresa, a deep and touching poem. So, a previous incarnation? I've a few of those, but my name did not change -- just my life.

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    1. Seeing your name, Jack, always makes me happy. I'm glad you stopped by. Yes, you and I have had a few incarnations this life. My name changing more than a few times. I think now I will stick with this one. :) I hope life is feeling good for you.

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  15. Very well written and always nice to get published.

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    1. Thank you, Steve, and yes, it was awfully nice.

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  16. "They're only words but word are all I have to steal your heart away..." The Brothers Gibb had it right and you, Teresa of the River, have stolen a lot of hearts with that magnificent poem. Color me in awe...Cletis

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    1. Ah, Cletis. Words. Aren't they wonderful? I love putting them together 'til they feel juuust right. You have given me much courage along the way and I thank you.

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  17. I saw the lilacs and sensed this would be memorable, then I read the poem and something in me hoped it was yours, Teresa, and it was! I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading it and reading it again and knowing it belonged to you. How wonderful, and fitting, that it was published. Thank you for sharing it. I know how hard that can be. I'm so glad you did. Penny

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    1. Thank you so much, Penny. It's been a wonderful thing, to let go of my fear and post this. I'm so glad you liked it.

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  18. What a wonderful statement of life in that beautiful poem!

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  19. Beautiful. It's poetry.

    This, with your post, cut into me somehow. It surprised my innards. And yet, so far, I have never let the world work like that.

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    1. I'm glad it "surprised your innards." Perhaps we Can teach a good luck duck new tricks? :) Thank you for that heartfelt response. Really. Thank you.

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  20. Wonderful poem, so much beauty and life behind the lines and that lilac with it's dark purple color is heavenly. I lost touch with my first husband and hadn't thought of him in a long while till now, I am sure we would be friends today since we parted so.

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    1. I believe those are French lilacs. I have a couple of older "trees" near the entrance to my place and some younger, smaller ones in the back, along with hedges of the traditional. I am surrounded by lilacs in the spring and am looking forward to it.

      It's good when you can remain friends, even if you never see each other again.

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  21. ..and you talk of angels with messages my friend!

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    1. Hi Joan :) Thank you for stopping by my place.

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    2. I should have added: I love it when we can provide these angel thoughts for each other. I thank you for your own to me and for your sweet and loving thought in response to this post.

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    3. That is it exactly. Teresa Evangeline.I love your way with words.

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  22. Teresa, you are very talented. What a wonderful mental picture. Thank you.

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  23. It's a lovely poem, worthy of inclusion in any anthology.

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  24. Wonderful! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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    1. Thank you, Linda. Hope your trip home was good.

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  25. Replies
    1. Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. ;)

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  26. Hello Teresa! Being out in nature is the good life for me, although I loved Baryshnikow in the 1980s. At least I saw him on films!

    I loe your poem, you should publish more of what you've possibly got in a secret place in a drawer or in a fine little oakwood chest!

    The lilacs are exactly the colour I love!! Someone is calling at the door I'll have to send the comment or else it will disappear.
    Grethe )

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    1. Hi Grethe, I'm not sure there's anything else worth posting, we'll see.... They are scattered here and there in boxes and bins. :) Perhaps a fine little oakwood chest would be better.

      Thank you!

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  27. I just love that poem, Miss Teresa Claire! Those pictures are special, too. It's terrific that you and your ex are friends. That's how it should be.

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    1. Hi Cheryl, Why, thank you. It's kind of nice to be called by both names. One of my sisters still does once in awhile. Thank you.

      Yes, being friends makes life much more harmonious.

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  28. Yes, that is how the world should work. And in many cases it can if we just take a moment when things aren't quite right.

    The poem is beautifully written and a real gem. You are a talented woman Teresa. Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. Hi Bill, It is so often that willingness to "take a moment," that allows relationships to survive the winds of change.

      Thank you very much.

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  29. Dear Teresa,
    So, you have returned to us, bearing the gift of self. Thank you for sharing this loveliness of poem and photos.

    Reading your words, which captured a time in your life in which you longed for that which you didn't have, reminded me of what Sister Dunstan, my philosophy professor, said to me one evening as we walked to the dorm beneath a spring sky. "Dee," she said, "never mistake complexity for depth."

    When the spirit moves you, I hope you will share more of your poetry with us and that you will trust yourself to write what is in your heart and spirit today.

    Peace.

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  30. Hello Teresa, I'm sorry that I had to go so quickly! A friend came, because her mother is sick and at hospital, the same problems as I had last year, and she wanted to talk about it.
    I think it was a beautiful life you had with your husband, and it's great that you are still good friends.(I haven't seen mine since we got divorced!)

    I can see your poem as images from what you have experienced out in nature.

    Bring your lovely poems to light!
    What about a book in Kindle?

    Grethe ´)

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    1. Hi Grethe, It was a beautiful life in many ways that I have come to appreciate more and more. These images are actual experiences we had on several occasions. Nature provides an unending supply of beautiful moments.

      I appreciate your encouragement. We shall see... :)

      I hope your friend's mother has a speedy recovery.

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  31. The poem is beautiful, and how brave you were to submit it! How wonderful that it was published (as it should have been) and that you've shared it with us here.

    I need more courage, to write more and perhaps to submit a bit here and there. We shall see - but in the meantime, I'll revel in your wonderful creation!

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  32. This poem runs deep into the veins of experience. Life is full of ripples. We throw a desire into the ocean of life, and the ripples get bigger and bigger until we can't see where it gets to. Yet still we throw another desire, and we keep throwing one after another until the ripples rip through the ocean to create a 'tsunami'. Suddenly we realize that the beautiful little ripples no more there and only a 'giant dangerous wave' which slices the peace unto pieces. Rarely indeed we settle within to embrace the beautiful moments in the present, as the mind's jumpy nature (like a monkey) always wants the best of the unseen fruits from another tree. This happens to to most of us, irrespective of time and clime and fame:).

    The river and greenery around is indeed a serene face of Mother Nature. If one can spend a little moment to enjoy this beauty, one will get the message that life too is a flow, and every moment that passes by will never return. Like the river that flows, we will never get to see the same water though we may look at the same spot.....it just flows. Nature is indeed a greatest preceptor. GREAT SHOT.

    Hope to see more of your poems.

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  33. Shoreacres, Blogger won't let me reply immediately following your comment, so... I thank you for those thoughts. It does seem to require more courage to submit things, especially poetry, for me. There's a greater sense of vulnerability in it. But, I aim to open my thought to the possibilities and see what happens. That particular poem came in, almost unbidden, and almost wrote itself, it seems. I'm hoping for more of that, along with a more disciplined use of my time.

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  34. C7, Thank you so much for your response. I certainly have had my own go-rounds with the monkey. I am learning to tame him more and more. Staying in each precious moment, staying in the flow of the River of Life, offers peace, which makes all the difference.

    Thank you so much for your comments.

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  35. The world is too much with us.

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    1. ...late and soon, getting and spending, we lay waste our powers..."


      Yes, Mr. Wordsworth.

      I feel very much in tune with nature now, so the poem has lost its sting somewhat.

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  36. Teresa, Above all the lovliness in this post, no truer words were ever spoken than the last paragraph about how things should work!
    Great job!

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  37. Yes, Tracy. Sometimes it takes letting go and allowing life to unfold naturally in its own way and time.... Thank so much for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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  38. Seventy-two comments on this post, Teresa. It really touched a lot of people.

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  39. Seventy-two and still counting, I should have written.

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    1. Well, I have to admit that half of them are probably my replies to comments, but I am very glad for the response to this post. Very glad. Thanks, Jack.

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  40. A whole and beautiful life in a poem - wonderful that it was published - you really have touched a chord about how life and relationships should be. It made me think about myself and my partner who despite having separated at one time now live together and believe as you do about the way in which the world should work .

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    1. Avril, I'm so glad you've come by to read and leave this lovely message. I'm happy that you have been able to show us what's possible.

      Your opening thought has really touched me. Thank you.

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