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Friday, February 24, 2006

Friday poetry blogging: Mark Strand

Ooh, I'm getting this one in just under the wire. Another poem I've loved for ages.

The Continuous Life

What of the neighborhood homes awash
In a silver light, of children crouched in the bushes,
Watching the grown-ups for signs of surrender,
Signs that the irregular pleasures of moving
From day to day, of being adrift on the swell of duty,
Have run their course? Oh parents, confess
To your little ones the night is a long way off
And your taste for the mundane grows; tell them
Your worship of household chores has barely begun;
Describe the beauty of shovels and rakes, brooms and mops;
Say there will always be cooking and cleaning to do,
That one thing leads to another, which leads to another;
Explain that you live between two great darks, the first
With an ending, the second without one, that the luckiest
Thing is having been born, that you live in a blur
Of hours and days, months and years, and believe
It has meaning, despite the occasional fear
You are slipping away with nothing completed, nothing
To prove you existed. Tell the children to come inside,
That your search goes on for something you lost--a name,
A family album that fell from its own small matter
Into another, a piece of the dark that might have been yours,
You don’t really know. Say that each of you tries
To keep busy, learning to lean down close and hear
The careless breathing of earth and feel its available
Languor come over you, wave after wave, sending
Small tremors of love through your brief,
Undeniable selves, into your days, and beyond.

[UPDATE: This is most odd, but I was just catching up on my Bloglines subscriptions and I noticed that Scrivener posted the exact same poem earlier today. Apologies for the duplication!]

link | posted by La Lecturess at 11:48 PM |


Blogger Yr. Hmbl. & Obdt. commented at 3:26 AM~  

I'm a bad, bad English professor. I swear, I've read this poem about twelve times now, and I still can't decide whether it's ultimately optimistic or despairing. All I know is, it expresses perfectly why people watch a lot of television--anything to avoid contemplation of the self-perpetuated void around them.

Blogger Dr. Lisa commented at 12:43 PM~  

Oh, I love Mark Strand!!!!

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