Elegy and remebrance by Miriam Sagan

Elegy and Remembrance

It’s October—the most beautiful month in New Mexico, I think. The colors are mostly yellow—chamisa, cottonwood, aspen—with some purple asters thrown in. On the Nordsy trail, higher up the mountain than Aspen Vista, yellow leaves fall and fall and I spotted some late purple bell flowers on the forest floor.
October is also a month I have lost more than one loved person. At the end of the month, it will be two years since my friend Miriam Bobkoff died here in hospice, taken care of by her friends, many of whom worked with her at the public library.
An elegy mourns. In Greek, a special meter—elegiacs—is reserved for that. Critic Helen Vendler told a graduate seminar I was in that an elegy has a corpse in it. And that one of its characteristics is that nature mourns as well as the bereaved. Technically, pastoral poetry–poetry about nature—has a lot in common with elegy.
When I was caring for Mir B.—an emotionally complicated experience—I wrote a sequence of short poems, often in my car. It’s been published in “the zen space” (https://thezenspace.wordpress.com/experience/autumn-2016-showcase/) as “Terminal.” That title is a bit of a pun, meaning both a point of departure and being in the grip of a fatal illness.

Here is the opening.
0.
before dying
she packs up and ships
her fossils
 
1.
it was beads on a string, Navajo pearls
 
it was not like that at all
 
it was like a tiny Mata Ortiz blackware pot
the size of a thumbnail
no, it was a miniature turret shell
containing
a homeopathic dose
of the sound
of the sea
 
actually it was more like
a pregnant woman in a great metropolis
weeping at a siren, saying
someone is suffering
 
2.
someone
asked me if you
had accepted death
 
this is a problem
of syntax
 
who is this “you”
does this “you”
exist at all
 
as to “accept”
I very much doubt it
 
and when we say death
I’m fairly sure
we have no idea what we’re talking about

***
Do click here to read the entire piece, and enjoy the Autumn Showcase from this interesting e-zine.

This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged by Miriam Sagan. Bookmark the permalink.

About Miriam Sagan

I'm blogging about poetry, land art, haiku, women artists, road trips, and Baba Yaga at Miriam's Well (https://miriamswell.wordpress.com). The well is ALWAYS looking to publish poetry on our themes, sudden fiction, and guest bloggers and musers.

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