7.29.2008

The time my favorite poem came to my house.

Due to a hopeful series of events, this very book is now about to make a snug home among the poets residing on my bookshelf. In early February of this year I entered the blogging world. I wanted to enter the world with a bang, but as usual, am hard-pressed to actually plan ahead and know what I would offer up as my first post. However, when i sat down with my fingers on the keys, with a thought of revelation, or rather remembrance, it seemed obvious that the way to begin a rolling journal, was with a poem that was read to me once in a professors office about a year and a half ago.

I remember the day well, I went to school, but I did not go to any of the four classes on my schedule. For some reason I felt an extreme sense of urgency to write. To create something that meant something to me, and going to class seemed so interruptive to that endeavor. I hunkered down in a small, air-conditioned computer lab, and spread out my books and papers, unaware of everything else around me. I was determined to fix a poem that I had been working on for months. I wrote and wrote and cut and cut and fixed, and pasted, and re-started and had a good long wrestle with those 7 un-lineated lines.

Throughout the day I took the 4 flights of stairs up to an old professors office. Sometimes when I look back I am both appalled and pleased at my unassuming naivety, I marched right up to Professor Larsen's office (a brilliant, refined, well-published poet, who I had a class from my sophomore year of college), I knocked on his door and he kindly let me in, he looked thoughtfully over my poem (probably not that good) and began making suggestions. He pulled some books off the shelf and read to me from some of them. One poem he read was by a woman named Laura Fargas. The title was, "If There is a God" after which I was quietly launched into 8 of the most beautiful lines I've ever heard. I wasn't entirely sure what the meaning was, I'm still not, but there was the impact of sincerity, the images of undeniable humanness reminding me that we do create things for each other. I loved the poem so much. I wrote down the name Laura Fargas in my journal and went back downstairs to work on my poem. I worked on that single poem for probably 9 hours that day. It wasn't finished then, but it ended up being published in a little publication later. For the next few months I looked for the poem and the book, but couldn't find either. I finally went back to my professor's office and asked him to get the book back out and I copied the poem in my notebook.

So now, back to my first day of blogging. The seemingly simple and small poem in my notebook seemed a perfect way to start something new, something that i was eager to share. I had actually misplaced the notebook for a time and so in my determination, sucked it up and called an x-boyfriend for the second to ask him to read me the poem over the phone. (I'd given it to him once in a terribly thoughtful note). So i posted the poem, unaware of copyright issues in the blogging sphere.

About 2 weeks ago I received an email from Laura Fargas' publisher advising me that I couldn't post entire poems on my blog. I took the poem off and wrote back apologizing, I also couldn't help myself but include a few sentences about how much the poem meant to me and how I was so glad to have found it. The publisher wrote back and said that since the poem was important to me, she would love to send a free copy of Laura's book to me in the mail. Of course I said yes, I can't think of anything much more delightful than receiving a package in the mailbox and opening it to find a book, a book of poetry.

Last night I rode my bike home. I've been feeling a little discouraged with life lately, but when I walked inside, my mom said there was a package she'd forgotten to give to me sitting on her desk in the back room. The book was there. I opened the manila envelope and unwrapped the plastic from the hard-cover book. It is one of those gifts that I want to take around with me, even if I know it's not necessary, just in case I get the chance to show someone or tell the story.

I am grateful for the books, for words, for poetry, for professors who share, for kind people who send lost college girls free books in the mail. I was reminded once again that the things we do, do matter. That we do make things for each other, and those things are the difference.

5 comments:

Club Narwhal said...

i don't know why but this made me start crying--acts of human kindness and all. i love that publisher for being so cool and i love that you love this poem.

shelly said...

The only thing I can think of to say is WOW! How wonderful! All of it.

hybrid said...

i'm sure that book will feel very much at home on your populated shelves

Brooke Stoneman said...

Ahsmae! After reading this post I read it to Max and I our old nemesis shakey voice showed it's ugly head near the end. What a beautiful story.

poppies in july said...

oohhhh ash mae, how lovely, how lovely - i do so hope that you will carry the book about in that little side satchel of yours (the darling blue one with the giant white polka dots) and you will become dear friends.
what a magical universe we are a part of.