Fifteen years ago, I walked in the garden in the early morning, on the day I birthed my second daughter.
Those were the years when “peak oil” was the looming fear. Now, the country is burning up, broken in so many ways, with a madman ensconced in the White House.
Last night, while the grownups sat around the campfire talking about COVID and rioting, I watched my daughter and her friends walk through the cemetery, so happy to be together but spread out — “distance, please,” I called — wandering through the lilac-scented evening — these lovely, witty girls — talking and talking, as they jostled, each finding their place.
Here’s a few lines from Anne Sexton’s anti-Vietnam War poem, a love letter to her daughter, “Little Girl, My String Bean, My Lovely Woman.”
What I want to say, Linda,
is that there is nothing in your body that lies.
All that is new is telling the truth.
In the internet world, hardly anyone ever writes where they live. Who claims to be from Maple Falls, Washington? Or Ivy, Virginia? On my hillside, in West Woodbury, Vermont, the trilliums have pushed up but are folded over, awaiting warmth to spread their velvety petals. This afternoon, the sun shines undiluted, while the maples host those raucous robins.
In this April’s Poetry Month, I’ve heard Vermont poets read about desire and loss and joy, and about drinking cold sap, cedar waxwings huddled in a snowstorm, hand-churned ice cream, lost rings….
All this violence: wars and cruelties…
now as always
back to the beginning of time….
Yet and still every day the sun rises,
white clouds roll across the sky,
vegetables get planted and grow,
and late in the afternoon someone
sits quietly with a cup of tea.
– David Budbill, “Little Poem Written at Five O’Clock in the Morning”
Woodbury, Vermont, April afternoon