a poem by Neruda speaks to my heart

collecting shells

S read this poem to me earlier this evening and it gave me a fluttery feeling. I don’t get to see the ocean much, so when I do it’s a special time. Most recently, the ocean means writing and creativity to me, because of Port Townsend, Washington, and my Goddard residencies. I get to go again in February. I’ll have these words in my head when I go. And it’s sort of a full-circle thing, too, because I bought this book for S from Copper Canyon Press. From Fort Worden to Vermont back to Fort Worden, with all kinds of poetic flutters and frills in between. From the Puget Sound to the shores of Lake Champlain back to the Puget Sound. Sand in my shoes. Gathering beach glass.

The photograph above is from Coney Island, NY, another place I’ve gazed over saltwater. I’ve never been there in the summer, only in cold weather. L and I gathered shells there.

Here’s the poem I’ve been talking about: From Pablo Neruda’s The Book of Questions translated by William O’Daly

XLIX

When I see the sea once more

will the sea have seen or not seen me?

Why do the waves ask me

the same questions I ask them?

And why do they strike the rock

with so much wasted passion?

Don’t they get tired of repeating

their declaration to the sand?

a quiz, a meme–for readers and writers

I got this from S’s blog on myspace. I don’t really use myspace anymore, so I’ve exported it here because I was interested enough to want to fill it out.

“This short survey is to encourage readers, writers, and poets to share a few simple things about ourselves. There are only twelve questions, and none of them have to do with eye color, sexual preferences, or high school crushes. Please read, answer, and repost. We might learn something from each other.”

1. Three authors that have inspired or influenced my writing are:
It’s so hard to pick just three! Um…Lorine Niedecker, Elizabeth Bishop, A.S. Byatt

2. The hardest part of the writing process for me is:
Making the transition from an amazing idea in my head to the limits of my words on paper.

3. One book I have always intended to read, but I haven’t yet is:
J was talking about some classics recently and I jotted them down to add to my reading list. They’re books I’ve heard of repeatedly, so I guess that could be defined as “always intended to read.” I trust J’s judgement, anyway. The books he listed were: Madame Bovary, Silas Marner, and Moll Flanders.

4. (True or False) I sometimes read non-fiction for pleasure.
True. I read a great book about dirt recently. And I need to get that book about female pirates back from A sometime. I don’t read nonfiction as often as I read fiction and poetry, but I will pick it up if the subject seems interesting and the book seems well-written.

5. (True or False) I came from a family that read a lot.
Very true. My mom read aloud to us at bedtime, and I’ve loved reading aloud ever since. And reading in general.

6. My favorite movie adaptation of a book is:
It would be totally cliche of me to say the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, but that one is rather good. I also really loved Brokeback Mountain. And the movie version of Orlando.

7. The most boring book I ever read all the way through is:
A Lover’s Discourse by Roland Barthes. I’ve had two teachers urge me to read that book, and then when I finally did it just bored and irritated me. I mean, the alphabetical arrangement is sort of interesting, but not interesting enough to sustain the entire book. And the content just sounded like a bunch of whining to me.

8. Poetry is:
essential language.

9. My favorite place to read is:
curled up somewhere nest-like with lots of blankets on top of me. Or on the toilet.

10. The funniest thing I have read recently is:
I’m reading a silly mystery book about monks right now, and it’s pretty entertaining, funny. I especially liked the scene with the drunken Santa Claus.

11. The most mind challenging thing I have read recently is:
Lyn Hejinian’s My Life.
12. When I stop by my local library the librarians must think:
Nothing drastic, probably. I don’t think I stand out from the other library patrons. I had a happy moment with one librarian when she expressed pleasure that my overdue fines were from books and not from movies. That was fun.

And that’s the end of the quiz!