"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Strong is Your Hand: Poems by Galway Kinnell

Something about vacations makes me want to read poetry, especially if there is a good bookstore nearby. Those conditions combined this week: a vacation and a bookstore that had a decent poetry section. I selected a slim volume by Galway Kinnell though I was not that familiar with his poetry, I remembered liking one that I read several years ago on, wait for it, another vacation.

So from The Village Books I purchased Strong is Your Hand: poems and read a poem or two here and there as we moved about our lazy days of ease. Once again several spoke to me, not in a sexy way as did "Last Gods" on that other vacation, but this time because Kinnell seems to understand the human condition of living long with one person.

Don said the poems I was reading aloud all seemed to be on one theme: aging and death. We both cried when we read this one, "Promissory Note", which I am sure my younger readers won't appreciate but my older readers will.

Promissory Note

If I die before you
which is all but certain
then in the moment
before you will see me
become someone dead
in a transformation
as quick as a shooting star's
I will cross over into you
and ask you to carry
not only your own memories
but mine too until you
too lie down and erase us
both together into oblivion.
As I searched the Internet for a bit of information about this poet, I learned that Galway Kinnell died in October 2014 at the age of 87. He was remembered as a poet that the average person could read and understand. I'll toast to that! Thank you Mr. Kinnell for writing poems that inspire and ones I can even recite. May you rest in peace knowing that at least a few of your memories are memorialized in your poems that we shall be reading for years to come.

"Promissory Note" by Galway Kinnell, from Strong Is Your Hold. Houghton Mifflin, 2006.

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