Recently Sorlil quoted Anne Sexton 'A woman who writes feels too much'. Man, you're not kidding...I have been crying all week about one thing or another. Not every week works out like this...but I have to admit it's not that uncommon either. I would sometimes like to be the kind of person who doesn't take every little thing quite so much to heart, the kind of woman who can keep things together...but I'm not sure that's going to happen. I sometimes feel like a piece of litmus paper. A much used piece of litmus paper.
Anyway Sorlil also tagged me to post 'a phrase: a few lines from a poem, a song, or an overheard sentence that rings important inside you' and this is the first one that came to mind:
from 'The Death of the Hired Man' by Robert Frost
'Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.'
It's been a bit crazy here so to be honest when I read the instruction I didn't read past the word 'poem' properly (otherwise I might have picked something from a song...I probably have a lot more song lyrics in my head than lines from, you know, stuff officially categorised as poetry...). However this is the one I started with so this is the one I'm sticking to. We studied this poem in secondary school (along with a few other of Frost's) and this phrase (almost an aphorism?) has followed me around since then. I'm not sure if it's true but there's something about it that has always interested me and continues to do so. I grew up in an area that we were not really from, we moved a lot, I went to weird schools, I lived abroad, I went back 'home', I didn't feel at 'home', we moved again, I sometimes feel at home here...but not always so it is a recurring theme. Plus I think a lot about people and how they do (or do not) care for each other (and that is very much what the poem is about). I think a lot about everything that people do and don't do...none of that helps with the 'not feeling so much' business...
Other things this week - our Old Dog (a cairn terrier called Ailsa) was put down on Thursday and I didn't think I'd be so upset but I have been blubbering like an actress on an awards show (Small Girl has been ill this week too so that has probably added to my uselessness). Ailsa lived to 16 and was a funny old thing (originally my Mum's dog) but she had lived with us since my Mum moved up here in 2004 and so she was, with all her terrible habits (the dog I'm talking about...), a member of our family. I remember being at the StAnza masterclass in 2005 (led by Jane Hirshfield) and a woman read a poem about her cat dying and feeding it chicken like threading a needle. As the poem was discussed I suspect I was a little impatient (as in 'oh please..are we really talking about this...this is a bit gross...') but that poem has stayed with me too (more than I could have expected). I thought of it yesterday as Mark and Mum took Old Dog off to the vet's for the last time and I felt absolutely miserable. I thought I had kept the poem but I've looked and can't find the photocopy right now (anyone else was there or know who it was?). I may yet write a sad poem about yesterday...and then maybe even watch younger poets get impatient as I read it in a masterclass some day... What was that you were writing recently, Ken Armstrong, about changing perspectives?
Speaking of Ken, he sent me a book a while back called 'That They May Face the Rising Sun' by Irish writer John McGahern. It's been a slow, very gentle read but I finished it yesterday too (sometimes the clanking symbolism in life can be deafening!). There is a lot in that book about home and what that means and about finding a place where you can feel right. There's a good, powerful death section at the end too so it's a quiet but strong story...and very Robert Frost in its way. Highly recommended.
Then last night (to finish off a very odd day) my Mum and I watched 'Snow Cake' (recorded from a while back). More crying! And more death! It's a great little film though and whilst it has its cheesey moments (I found the Rickman back story not quite right...) it is so much better than so many other films. I would recommend that one too.
And I think that's as far as I'm going to get today because there is more cleaning and caring and no doubt crying to do. Perhaps I'll manage some more thoughts on home and what it means in a few days.
p.s. I haven't done a list of people to carry on the tag thing...it always feels weird to pick some and not others...but anyone who wants to post or comment on this - away you go!
2 hours ago