Monday, October 25, 2010

On, In and Around Mondays: How Do You Feel About 'Again'?

Sunday Visit to Anya's Yard

I have been here before, says one of my favorite poets, in "Yoked Together."

These words follow me around the yard. I have been here, and here, and here before. I have raked pine needles at the crest of this hill, watched autumn have its turn with maples, dogwood, the blueberry bushes now crimson. I have been here before.

I lean to pick up a pile of pine needles, put them in my wheel barrow. Why should I come back to this another year? Why should I care? It is like the way I made tea again this morning, ate an apple, kissed my daughter on the top of her head. It is never enough (the same favorite poet said that), but it is also too much. I wonder about the repetition of it all.

This is the kind of thing that drove me mildly insane as a mother to young children. Again, again! Always again. Some Dora song would haunt me in my dreams. "Delicioso!" Dora cried. And I thought maybe I would cry at the monotony of it.

I am no longer a mother to young children. But the yard needs raking. Again. I have been here before.

I turn the wheelbarrow over, dump pine needles into the compost pile. I think about my grandmother's last years. She could look my mother straight in the face and say, "You're my friend, right?" but not know why my mother would care to be her friend. My mother's name was gone, and too the days when my mother probably sang her own version of a Dora song. There was no again for my grandmother. This is insanity.

In Memory for Forgetfulness,* poet Mahmoud Darwish writes of exile. It is worth quoting at length...

You want to travel to Greece? You ask for a passport, but you discover you're not a citizen because your father or one of your relatives had fled with you during the Palestine war. You were a child. And you discover that any Arab who had left his country during that period and had stolen back in had lost his right to citizenship.

You despair of the passport and ask for a laissez-passer. You find out you're not a resident of Israel because you have no certificate of residence. You think it's a joke and run to tell a lawyer friend: 'Here, I'm not a citizen, I'm not a resident. Then where and who am I?' You're surprised to find the law is on their side, and you must prove you exist. You ask the Ministry of the Interior, 'Am I here, or am I absent? Give me an expert in philosophy, so that I can prove to him I exist.'

Then you realize that philosophically you exist but legally you do not.

The exile has reached a point of no return. There is no again. Perhaps it could drive a person quietly insane. More so than my grandmother, who didn't understand what she had lost.

Now I rake more pine needles. The hill is almost clean. I know that I have been here before. I want to come again.

Sunday Visit at Anya's photo, by Sara. Used with permission. *Darwish quote is in Memory for Forgetfulness, quoting original source Journal of an Ordinary Grief.

LL tree 2


On, In and Around Mondays (which partly means you can post any day and still add a link) is an invitation to write from where you are. Tell us what is on, in, around (over, under, near, by...) you. Feel free to write any which way... compose a tight poem or just ramble for a few paragraphs. But we should feel a sense of place.

Would you like to try? Write something 'in place' and add your link below. If you could kindly link back here when you post, it will create a central meeting place. :)

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Blogger deb said...

This was wonderful.wonderful

9:01 AM  
Blogger Maureen said...

This reaches in and touches deeply.

And you quote Darwish! (As you know, I love his work.)

9:35 AM  
Anonymous heather said...

Love that quote. I've been contemplating identity lately in light of changing roles--how will my new role reflect my identity? How will it shape my identity?

In the past couple of years, I've also been thinking about it in relation to place. What does it mean that I live here, in this place, in this neighborhood?

10:56 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

I've figured out a way to post on Monday writing project. This is like the opposite of "again." This is an anticipation of the future. Thanks, LL!

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Sandra Heska King said...

In the agains, there is I am and I AM.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous sarah said...

beautiful post. those words don't seem enough but they are full of feeling. beautiful post.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

You make me look inside and the questions I have asked for so long swirl around. You are gifted my friend.

I tried to leave a comment on your post at HCB, but it wouldn't let me access the page (It showed up in my google reader)
I loved that one too. I feel as though the Lord has been hitting me over the head with that recently. Time for action - or inaction as the case may be.

2:36 PM  
Blogger Deidra said...

Your words about being a mother of young ones. The songs playing again in your head. I've know that, but it was Barney back then, "I love you..."

One morning when my children were little, I woke up and there was a potato on my dresser. Yes. A potato. And the next morning I woke up and it was there - again. Not still. I had put it away the day before. It was there again.

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Lyla Lindquist said...

Again. The more times 'round I go, the more I'm getting to like again.

I'm not sure I noticed it before, and it surprises me a little.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous HisFireFly said...

We must not give too many second thoughts to going back the way we came.. for God seems to have us circle back again and yet again.

The seasonal changes seem to come faster and faster, till Winter begins almost before it ends.

As usual, great post.

11:07 PM  

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