The Undiscovered Country
When it came to the end
she would not eat any longer
refusing to take part
in the feast that makes us whole
In the vastness of her being
the broken pieces
like a thought or a rowboat
And the bitterness and love
that bound her to the earth
unsettled from her bones
She became smaller still
While outside the window
the moon rose through bare branches
in the blue ravenous light
Originally appeared in Pontoon.
I am continually enchanted with the ways that poetry quietly slips into our everyday lives and has the ability to make a profound impact on an otherwise ordinary day. I chose this poem for exactly that reason:
Some years ago, I was part-owner in a small bakery/cafe; and on a quiet drizzly winter afternoon, one of our regular customers came in for lunch a little past the rush, the place momentarily deserted. He had brought his elderly mother in for a sandwich -- said he wanted to show her his favorite quirky lunch place.
We had on the counter a small collection of Floating Bridge Press poetry books for sale, and he picked up a copy of the anthology Pontoon. Amid the low hum (and luring scents) of the convection ovens (chocolate chip walnut cookies? Oatmeal raisin? Strawberry white chocolate scones?) he opened the slim volume and read aloud to his mother the poem I've posted above.
Nothing paused in the day -- cars roared past in four lanes on Airport Way, jets from Boeing Field barely skimmed the building tops; there was the clank and clang of pots being scrubbed and set to dry. But I could still hear him read -- every word -- and I could see his mother, in her diminished eighty+ self, absorb all of it.
This was one of those moments where the universe stops, takes a breath, and allows poetry to enter the soul.
A moment when poetry blesses us, and sends us on our way.
This week I have the good fortune to be editor of the masthead Tuesday Poem blog, and have posted an additional poem of Kathryn's, along with a video of her reading it. Please do visit!