By Mark Strand
Sadness, of course, and confusion.
The relatives gathered at the graveside,
talking about the waste, and the weather mounting,
the rain moving in vague pillars offshore.
This is Prince Edward Island.
I came back to my birthplace to announce my death.
I said I would ride full gallop into the sea
and not look back. People were furious.
I told them about attempts I had made in the past,
how I starved in order to be the size of Lucille,
whom I loved, to inhabit the cold space
her body had taken. They were shocked.
I went on about the time
I dove in a perfect arc that filled
with the sunshine of farewell and I fell
head over shoulders into the river’s thigh.
And about the time
I stood naked in the snow, pointing a pistol
between my eyes, and how when I fired my head bloomed
into health. Soon I was alone.
Now I lie in the box
of my making while the weather
builds and the mourners shake their heads as if
to write or to die, I did not have to do either.
Strand passed away over Thanksgiving weekend, though this poem was in The New York Review of Books nearly 50 years earlier. For ages I've been tagging him as an American poet and only just learned that he was born in Canada. Here is his New York Times obituary.
Once again it took an insane amount of time to get through my email in the morning, and I wish to inform nonprofits, like retailers the day before, that I unsubscribed from more of them than I donated to. Otherwise, it was a pretty quiet Tuesday, cold and rainy and mostly dark; Paul worked from home because he had phone conferences, we had lunch together, and late in the day we started cleaning up the front hall closet area so we can make some attempt to organize the living room, though for as long as younger son's bike lives here, we can only change so much.
I am having a weird social media week -- someone I've been friends with in real life since college unfriended (not just unfollowed) me because I post daily, which she finds a distraction, and once (!) used Facebook messenger to send a group message. I love the way Facebook lets me stay in touch far better than the occasional letter or phone call ever did. I am confused when people would rather cut ties completely on the grounds that they can't keep up with everything; does anyone really find being overlooked more offensive than not being connected at all?
In actual news, I was entertained by the medieval sex scandal revealed by Richard III's DNA and happy for the umpire who came out. Tuesday is our busy TV night: I liked the Flash-Arrow crossover (I like the women on the latter), was only half-interested in Agents of SHIELD (can Skye and Ward both go to Mars or something?), really liked Forever (though we've seen one too many clueless woman manipulated by romantic interests, I'll take what I can get in the time the show has left). Some pics of National Cathedral's ongoing rebuilding after the 2011 earthquake which did tens of millions in damage: