Reading in Tandem

Years ago, ending a marriage and needing a place to live, I moved in with my mother and stepfather. I brought with me my almost-three-year old daughter, several bags of clothing, and some toys. Everything else, including the possessions that meant the most to me — my books and my father’s paintings — I left behind. I didn’t care, at the time, about those things. I thought I would get them later, and, anyway, as for the books, I hadn’t had the energy — or desire — to read anything for more than a year.

Had I known at the time how difficult the coming three years would be, I probably would’ve crawled into bed and not come out from under the covers. But I didn’t have the gift of foresight, and so, I was relatively happy. My mother and her husband, Jim, were amazingly supportive: they doted on their granddaughter, they doted on me. The house was full of love, good food, music, and books. It was free of tension, and anger, and disappointment. For the first time in months, I slept well. And I fell in love with reading again. Continue reading “Reading in Tandem”

On Poems and Grief

Oh, Lord, that scene in Four Weddings and a Funeral, when Matthew reads Auden’s “Funeral Blues.” I cried when I first saw it. I still cry every time I watch it:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come

[read the entire poem here]

When my father died unexpectedly, I thought of that scene. Continue reading “On Poems and Grief”