What the Body Knows
All night he waits for us
and the drawing back
of the black-out curtains to fill him
with sunlight and hope.
Daily, we bear a copper bowl brimful
with hot water, finest triple-milled soap,
sponge and a thick white towel.
Hands heavy with oils
we massage his back in a rhythm constant
as tides, count the abacus beads
of his spine
and circle his calves with wobbly O's,
then pull his perfect toes until
his breath matches
the hushed escalation
of eucalyptus leaves outside.
The night he dies, we lay hands on
his body, such a small boat, clasping
it firmly to the shore of the living
so that his spirit can rise
freely, even now loved.
- Madelyn Garner
So, yesterday, while I was doing some financial organizing, I stumbled across two poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Possibly this highlights the key problem I have with my financial organizing, but anyway :). I just had to share them. The first is about death. The second is about love.
Dirge Without Music
I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, --- but the best is lost.
The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curle…
In another part of Harvard Square... I see that Bitterblue is among the Holiday Hundred at Harvard Book Store, which means it's 20% off.
I mention this because this is my local indie and the way to get books signed/personalized by me (before you finish your online order, a comments box will appear; please specify in the comments box that you'd like the book signed, and to whom you'd like it personalized, if anyone) --
BUT, fair warning: if you are thinking of my signed books as Christmas presents, please
order before December 17, because I won't be around after that to sign
them. I can't sign books from out of state. I tried once. My arm wasn't
To make up for my recent lack of posting -- and to celebrate Bitterblue being named a New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of 2012 -- this post will be about something :).
Disclaimer: All the photos in this post are of my own work and are owned by me. If you use them for any purpose, please identify them and attribute them to me. Do not change them in any way or use them commercially.
What follows is essentially my tour presentation for Bitterblue... it is the story of how the book was written. Here goes.
As you probably know if you've spent much time on my blog, I write by hand.
Above is the first page of the first draft of Bitterblue. Note that the date is October 25, 2007. Also note -- if you've read Bitterblue -- that this is not how the final book begins. And also that not a whole lot from this page made it into the final draft. What you see above is fairly typical: I write, I scratch out a word here and there, I scratch out a line, I change things; th…