Gwendolyn Brooks on “Life for my child…”

Life for my child is simple, and is good.

He knows his wish.  Yes, but that is not all.

Because I know mine too.

And we both want joy of undeep and unabiding things,

Like kicking over a chair or throwing blocks out of a window

Or tipping over an ice box pan

Or snatching down curtains or fingering an electric outlet

Or a journey or a friend or an illegal kiss.

No.  There is more to it than that.

It is that he has never been afraid.

Rather, he reaches out and lo the chair falls with a beautiful crash,

And the blocks fall, down on the people’s heads,

And the water comes slooshing sloppily out across the floor.

And so forth.

Not that success, for him, is sure, infalliable.

But never has he been afraid to reach.

His lesions are legion.

But reaching is his rule.

Cornelius Eady’s Travelin’ Shoes

It’s something how poetry—and literature in general—can touch your reality with words that feel so much like your own.  I read this poem by Cornelius Eady last night and thought it an appropriate, almost exact, reflection of life right now.  It’s called “Travelin’ Shoes.”

And at last, I get the phone call.  The blues rolls into

my sleepy ears at five A.M., a dry, official voice from

my father’s hospital.  A question, a few quick facts,

and my daddy’s lying upstate on the coolin’ floor.

Death, it seems, was kinder to him in his last hour

than life was in his last four months.

Death, who pulls him to a low ebb, then slowly

floods over his wrecked body like a lover.

Cardio-vascular collapse, the polite voice is telling

me, but later my cousin tells me, he arrives on the

ward before they shut my father’s eyes and mouth to

see the joy still resting on his face from the moment

my daddy finally split his misery open.