Thursday, May 27, 2010

Memorizing poetry

It's time to begin again. In my younger days, we always memorized poetry, other things too. It is time for me to begin again. I attended a poetry reading recently and was moved when one of the poets recited her own work -- a poem she had written only that day. Her name is Seal and the work was wonderful. The next day, my poetry teacher assigned the entire class the task of memorizing our own work. Timely. I've begun with an easy one, but I'll not stop here. Here's the one I'm learning "by heart" this week:

by Sandra de Helen

I sigh. I want to die
you cried all night
last night and spoke again
of suicide. I lied and
said I know your pain.
I don’t. I know my own.

If you leave me alone
I may die, suicide
myself, rather than
face your life without
you in it. Cry and lie
but do not die, do not
leave your issue
for me to rear. I did
not bear them, and
cannot bear them now.
Not alone. Not without

I realize I got you here
but cannot keep you here.
My will alone will not
hold you here, no more
than my arms. No more
than my love. I don’t
know your pain. I
know my own. Don’t
leave me alone,

I sigh.