Yesterday I said I’d share my unfinished fragment of a blog post sometime. Here it is:
It’s both necessary and redemptive; as seductive as the lure of the whale, as obsessing as the chase, the need to conquer —
Write for the spaces between the words, for the air that buoys you like a rescue device, safety trapped between layers of subordinate clauses. ♦ Write toward the air and light, like a trapped miner digging toward safety, seeing the light filter at the end of the paragraph. ♦ Write deaf, like a sailor of Odysseus, ears defended against distractions beautiful and deadly, against the siren song of doubt. ♦ Write in darkness, thirsting for starlight, tracking your path like Galileo, defending your belief in the world the shape that it is.
Occasionally I need to repeat something I said to myself. I wrote this the day after the 2016 election in response to Melissa Wiley’s poem, and I need to hear it again. Maybe you do, too.
“the grit that vexed the oyster, formed the pearl,”
my mantra, this, as living shreds my plans;
“and still we rise” and rising, we unfurl
our battle standard, bloody in our hands.
in disillusioned pain; in shock and fear
our doubts, now kindled, conflagration fans,
what, from disaster? how, to persevere
when we’re defeated, running on exhaust?
from deepest pressure precious stones appear,
Hail Marys passed when better plays are lost
A root, determined, granite stone will split
Some harvests sweeten only after frost –
why claim “all is not lost,” like hypocrites?
we tried. we failed. regardless, we don’t quit.