Sunday, 19 February 2012


Alison and I are briefly home after a long day at the hospital with visits
from my brother Rod and sister-in-law Marnie, our niece Dana and
her husband Greig, as well as Alison, Alex and Charlotte and, of course,
Victor. Mike enjoyed all the family, but it is tiring for him.
He continues to endure pain, discomfort, and various indignities
without complaint.
We have taken a brief break but are now returning to the
hospital for the evening. Alison will write an update later.
Here below is the poem by Billy Collins that Jon
Lampman mentioned. It seems to say something about
where I feel I am now.
You know the brick path in the back of the house, 
the one you see from the kitchen window,  
the one that bends around the far end of the garden 
where all the yellow primroses are? 
And you know how if you leave the path 
and walk into the woods you come  
to a heap of rocks, probably pushed 
down during the horrors of the Ice Age, 
and a grove of tall hemlocks, dark green now 
against the light-brown fallen leaves? 
And farther on, you know 
the small footbridge with the broken railing 
and if you go beyond the you arrive 
at the bottom of sheep's head hill? 
Well, if you start climbing, and you 
might have to grab on to a sapling 
when the going gets steep, 
you will eventually come to a long stone  
ridge with a border of pine trees 
which is as high as you can go 
and a good enough place to stop.  

The best time for this is late afternoon 
when the sun strobes through 
the columns of trees as you are hiking up, 
and when you find an agreeable rock 
to sit on, you will be able to see 
the light pouring down into the woods 
and breaking into the shapes and tones 
of things and you will hear nothing  
but a sprig of a birdsong or leafy 
falling of a cone or through the trees, 
and if this is your day you might even  
spot a hare or feel the wing-beats of geese 
driving overhead toward some destination.  

But it is hard to speak of these things 
how the voices of light enter the body 
and begin to recite their stories 
how the earth holds us painfully against  
Its breast made of humus and brambles 
how we will soon be gone regard 
the entities that continue to return 
greener than ever, spring water flowing 
through a meadow and the shadows of clouds 
passing over the hills and the ground 
where we stand in the tremble of thought 
taking the vast outside into ourselves.  

Still, let me know before you set out. 
Come knock on my door 
and I will walk with you as far as the garden  
with one hand on your shoulder. 
I will even watch after you and not turn back 
to the house until you disappear  
into the crowd of maple and ash, 
heading up toward the hill, 
percing the ground with your stick.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Carol, for the beautiful poem.Thinking of you all. I feel far away, writing from a school lab in Guadalajara. Love Jenny