Months To Years Summer 2018 MTY_Summer2018_v7 - Page 15

“ As the year turned, it brought another upheaval. I began to write poems. Though reading and writing had been As I wrote, my muscles relaxed. My mind abandoned its lockstep habit of moving from one activity to another. my passion since childhood, I had seldom written poetry. Now poems began to push to the surface, hesitant but sure as winter crocuses. Weaving, where I had first found a creative home, was being transmuted into poetry. As I wrote, my muscles relaxed. My mind abandoned its lockstep habit of moving from one activity to another. As though for the first time, I watched clouds darken and snows come. I wrote a love poem to myself: “                   I want to bring you pussy willows          and crocuses, lovely words          nothing bought or sold:          A shell, a stone, a piece of bark,          poppies stuffed with golden pollen.          I want to live with you          in a house of vines          and gnarled branches,          sip blackberry juice          out of acorn cups,          drop cherries in your mouth          and sleep on beds          of peacock feathers.          In the mornings          we’ll pot geraniums          and brew our tea.          I’ll make love to you           and you’ll make love to me. “Why, you’re germinating,” my poet friend Barbara Angell told me. I loved that image of blind, unknown forces marshalling in a darkness. I thought of seeds: of their unstoppable impulse to reach the light, of the light bending to pull their shoots from earth, of the earth parting in welcome. I saw myself as just such a patch of earth, waiting, dumb and uncertain, but acted on by an inexorable process I had given myself up to. I loved the mystery of it. I loved being part of the mystery. I loved not understanding the mystery. Through that dark Cleveland winter, I wept and slept and wrote, wrapped in unknowing, with no more anticipation of an end point than a seed has. Months later, in April, when all things become new, poems had taken the place of tears and sleep. I felt alive, lighter, exhilarated yet peaceful, and proud, as though I had come back from some underworld I wasn’t sure I would have the strength to leave. The air brimmed with possibilities. At the same time, I felt exhausted, but in a victorious way, as after a birth, or a battle, where I had found the courage to surrender to my sorrow and to the poems that kept germinating in a joyous jumble. Mary Ann Larkin is the author of seven books of poetry: The Coil of the Skin; White Clapboard; The DNA of the Heart (with her husband Patric Pepper); A Shimmering That Goes With Us; gods & flesh; That Deep and Steady Hum; and On Gannon Street. Her poetry has appeared in Poetry Greece, Poetry Ireland Review, New Letters and in more than 20 anthologies. She was a co-founder of The Big Mama Poetry Troupe, a group of feminist poets based in Cleveland in the 1970s, who performed from Chicago to New York. She’s presently working on a book of essays. Larkin has taught writing and literature at a number of colleges and written for National Public Radio. She lives in Washington D.C. and North Truro, Massachusetts. She loves light, glitter and wallpaper. 15