Saturday, December 12, 2009

Poetry Friday: Mea Culpa

It's Saturday. I awaken to a clean slate day. I've no plans until late this afternoon, and a lazy Saturday is just what I need after the craziness that was Friday. Friday was one of those days that didn't include breathing. There was just no room for it.

The day started with a fasting blood draw at 7:40 a.m. in Raymond, followed by a mad dash back to Epping where I spent the rest of the morning teaching. As soon as school was over, I jumped in my Alien Green Kia Soul and drove to Waltham. Grace's Christmas Party is coming up at Fernald and I needed to deliver her presents. I'd run to Walmart the night before and bought Gracie a turquoise velour jogging suit, a long-sleeve black t-shirt, a set of silver bangle bracelets, and a bright yellow smiley-face Mr. Happy pillow. They were all wrapped up in Christmas paper emblazoned with a pattern of Santas holding puppies, and Gracie nearly hyperventilated when she saw the presents.

Gracie and I and some of her pals hung out for an hour or so. We sang Chrismtas songs, and also a few of Gracie's favorites from her childhood, which ended in 1927 when she went to live at The Walter Fernald School at age 6. I kissed one-eyed Gracie goodbye, wished her Merry Christmas, and made the melancholy drive back to Epping.

I needed to get my school straightened up for the parent conference I had scheduled for 5 p.m. The conference lasted until about 6:15, after which I ran out the door and over to The Rockingham County Nursing Home to see my mother. This was the first Christmas she hadn't been able to visit her sister Grace herself, and she wanted to hear how things were going for Gracie down at Fernald.

I drove through McDonald's, picked up a fish sandwich for Eileen and a burger for myself, and enjoyed a quiet dinner with Mom. I stayed until the staff started bedding down the Rockettes, and was happy for the blessed quiet when I got home. Usually, I'd check my email, but that could wait.

And so here I am. The quiet of my Saturday shattered by my own screams when I realized I missed Poetry Friday. I missed Poetry Friday! And my good friend and sistah Diane hosted! Oh, the shame! Oh, the guilt!  Mea maxima culpa.

And so, I offer for Poetry Friday (a day late) Mea Culpa by Brittany's eco warrior, environmental poet Anjela Duval, translated by Lenora Timm. This poem could have been written for so many of New Hampshire's small communities which are falling prey to big development. (Going to both McDonald's and Walmart in little Epping would have been beyond imagining 20 years ago.)  This week, the first four words were written for me.


-- How stupid you are, people
Throwing stones at their signs
They have the right to stop you from passing
Through the city where they are
They have bought
They have paid
They have rebuilt ruins
That collapsed thirty years ago
Through the indifference of our Countrymen
Who go to town to buy a plot
-- A hundred thousand francs per square meter --
After they've sold their mills
Or their farms to the Foreigner
For a mere trifling
You're stupid, people
Beating stones against their signs
Beat instead your own breasts.

This week's Poetry Friday is being hosted by Diane Mayr at Random Noodling.


I'm Jet . . . said...

Well, Andy, I'm glad you finally remembered -- and I don't mind at all you being late to the party -- you've given me a new-to-me poet. I went to the link and read some of her other work.


Hope things settle down for you!


Andrea Murphy said...

Thanks, Janet! Did you notice that a fellow named Lawrence Buell, noted Thoreauvian scholar and literary critic, was referenced in the article on Duval? Any relation?

I'm Jet . . . said...

I DID notice! No relation at all -- unless he's filthy rich. hahahaha!

Mur said...

Okay,so it's Tuesday and I've figured out that I am JUST NOW reading Saturday's posting for Poetry Friday. I have always said that there is earth time--which has 24 repetitive hours per day--and publishing time (which doesn't have any logical time sequence). We who are writers live & breathe too much in publishing time. So what if I'm reading Poetry Friday's Saturday post on Tuesday? It's still an awesome post. What a powerful poem! Thanks, Andy!