"A Year's End"
It is quiet at this year's end.
Winter whispers through heavy coats.
I lace your boots. You catch your finger
in my loose curl.
The prairie isn't white
like we imagined.
Through dead leaves we see
a hidden sun, lost mitten
the drawbridge we scaled last summer.
You are six and know the language
of distant fields, the sudden surprise
of purple branches
praying to ice.
You have come to know the beauty
in what has been lost:
the way your hair curled at three
the child you were before you learned
the names of things--
the woman I was before
I carried you through three seasons
then set you free
The waves turn toward a season's
end: pink sky, snow remnants.
The shore holds the place
where water turns back. You've found a shell;
just as quickly you let it go.
Wet sand covers our boots.
I've folded the stray curl inside my hat.
Your laces make thin trails back
from sacred places.
Land, sky and shore touch
the force of December waves.
This is how a page turns
a year ends
a mother loves.
-Dina Elenbogen from Apples of the Earth
Several years ago, when we lived in Chicago, Dan was an events coordinator for a book store. Every week, he would organize readings by various authors - some popular, some not. Every week, I would leave campus after my courses ended, head to the store and pretend to be an anonymous attendee so that there was at least one person sitting in the crowd besides the employees. (I wasn't very good at this -I'm a terrible liar - and once very blatantly gave myself away when talking to an author). Some of them were extremely interesting, like Buddhist monk from Toronto who led a meditation session and discussed his spiritual teacher's writings. Others were famous writers such as Audrey Niffenegger (she was interesting too). My favorite of these events though, was a poetry reading by Dina Elenbogen.
I found myself very moved by her work, most especially this poem. She so beautifully describes how we come to perceive our constantly shifting selves as a result of reflection on our developing personal histories, both as parents and children. I was also touched by the inscription she wrote in the copy of Apples of the Earth that Dan bought for me. I was too shy to approach her, so he did it without my knowledge and told her that I also wrote poetry. In the book she wrote "For Kelley- fellow poet. With best wishes for your poetry." It was so very kind and came at a time when I had little confidence in anything I produced.
As you can see, I'm back from a short hiatus. This poem is apt for the occasion because what I want to do with my blog is shifting, and I'm not completely sure what direction it will take. I'm going to keep taking some outfit photos, but would like to do other things like regular poetry posts. I think its good for me to step away when I need to, explore other endeavors and decide if I want to continue blogging. I'd hate for this wonderful hobby to become a chore and wouldn't want to waste anyone else's (or my) time with something I don't enjoy. I'll be posting regularly again now. Thanks for all of the supportive comments and messages I've received -- and the compliments on my new hair-do:) I really appreciate all of you so much.