Perhaps I am being ageist after all. Or maybe I'm unfairly dismissing the years of work that go into making fresh poems. In this idea, I find inspiration.
When I heard of her death this morning, I read some of her poems that I found online. I was delighted by her approach to history:
"A close-up of a five-year-old
living on turnips. Her older sister,
my not-yet-mother, already
wearing my daughter’s eyes,
is reading a letter as we cut
to a young man with thick glasses
who lies in a trench and writes
a study of Ibsen. I recognize him,
he is going to be my father,
and this is his way of keeping alive."
I also love how she infuses elements of religion and mythology into her poems:
before our bodies glittered
and we stopped bleeding:
invent a shepherd who kills a giant,
a girl who grows into a tree,
a woman who refuses to turn
her back on the past and is changed to salt,
a boy who steals his brother’s birthright
and becomes the head of a nation.
Invent real tears, hard love,
slow-spoken, ancient words,
difficult as a child’s
first steps across a room."
But above all, I love how she infuses her work with ideas and images that make me reel (the happy kind of reeling). Let me finish by including a whole poem, "Love Like Salt"
too intricate to decipher
It goes into the skillet
without being given a second thought
It spills on the floor so fine
we step all over it
We carry a pinch behind each eyeball
It breaks out on our foreheads
We store it inside our bodies
in secret wineskins
At supper, we pass it around the table
talking of holidays and the sea."
I thought of celebrating her life and work by buying one of her books--but Amazon doesn't carry many. Maybe there will be a collected works soon. In the meantime, I'm grateful that there are so many individual poems that I can read, grateful for the positive parts of the Internet.