The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Friday

Courting Forgetfulness
By Robert Bly

It's hard to know what sort of rough music
Could send our forgetfulness back into the ground,
From which the gravediggers pulled it years ago.

The first moment of the day we court forgetfulness.
Even when we are fully awake, a century can
Go by in the space of a single heartbeat.

The life we lose through forgetfulness resembles
The earth that sticks to the sides of plowshares
And the eggs the hen has abandoned in the woods.

A thousand gifts were given to us in the womb.
We lost hundreds during the forgetfulness of birth,
And we lost the old heaven on the first day of school.

Forgetfulness resembles the snow that weighs down
The fir boughs; behind our house you’ll find
A forest going on for hundreds of miles.

Robert, it's to your credit that you remember
So many lines of Rilke, but the purpose of forgetfulness
Is to remember the last time we left this world.


I have had a very nice Christmukkah in Hanover, where my parents joined us at my in-laws' house for a huge dinner with food from both traditions -- potato latkes courtesy my husband, carrot souffle and knish-type hors d'oeuvres courtesy my mother, meatballs, herring, chicken, cheeses, nuts and lingonberries courtesy my in-laws, plus peppermint bark, Russian tea cakes, cinnamon fingers, various Swedish cookies, and undoubtedly several other things that I am forgetting. My parents left with the arrival of one of Hanover's glorious winter sunsets -- the nearby paper factory puts some kind of particles into the atmosphere that turn a spectacular red-gold-orange along the horizon even when there are few clouds, and there was a flock of Canada geese honking across the sky just below where Venus appeared.

A dreidel and a dalahast displayed on the tabletop Christmas tree.

A glass angel from Jorvik Glass at Castle Howard in Yorkshire.

Tomtens from Sweden...

...and a straw goat.

This is a close-up of my holiday present from dementordelta -- a bag from the Pennsylvania Renfaire with the Tree of Life as the Wheel of the Year.

A glimpse of my father-in-law's not-yet-complete train layout in the garage.

Here is my extended family -- Paul (who can never keep his eyes open in photos), Adam, Cinda, Roy, Clair, Daniel, Linda.

A spectacular sunset faded to dusk.

The kids watched A Christmas Story at least once all the way through, and my father and father-in-law had on the nostalgic baseball clips currently airing on the MLB network, which goes live in January (we won't get it at home because we're not paying for Comcast's sports package but both our fathers will!). Daniel was itching all day to watch the Colbert Christmas special with his grandparents but we didn't get to it till evening. Meanwhile, Adam played my mother-in-law's keyboard, teaching himself songs from Phantom of the Opera, then got her to teach him how to knit! Which he learned (at least the basics) in under an hour, though no one has ever succeeded in teaching me! So I am very impressed.

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