I’m going to go with a book of poetry today!
Rose by Li-Young Lee. This book is a thing of beauty. The poems are graceful, deep, moving. They are honest and humble, yet hold secrets. I come back to them over and over again.
Here are excerpts from my favorite poems in the book (click the titles for links to entire poems):
Persimmons – I love this poem because it hits on Lee’s Chinese heritage when he gets in trouble for mixing up the words persimmon and precision in school.
My mother said every persimmon has a sun
inside, something golden, glowing,
warm as my face.
Once, in the cellar, I found two wrapped in newspaper,
forgotten and not yet ripe.
I took them and set both on my bedroom windowsill,
were each morning a cardinal
sang, The sun, the sun.
he was going blind,
my father sat up all one night
waiting for a song, a ghost.
I gave him the permissions,
swelled, heavy as sadness,
and sweet as love.
From Blossoms – There’s a lot of fruit in these poems, and I love how Lee focuses on the senses so much – for him, the senses are emotional as well as physical. Here he talks about eating peaches – and much, much more.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet, impossible blossom.
Braiding – On the surface this is just a poem about him braiding his wife’s hair. But I think it is a very truthful poem about marriage.
How I wish we didn’t hate those years
while we lived them.
Those were days of books,
days of silences stacked high
as the ceiling of that grew, dim hall . . . .
. . . Here, what’s made, these braids, unmakes
itself in time, and must be mad
again, within and against
time. So I braid
your hair each day . . .
. . . Love, how the hours accumulate. Uncountable.
The trees grow tall, some people walk away
and diminish forever.
The damp pewter days slip around without warning
as we cross over one year and one year.
What book have you read over and over?
And here’s Karla’s answer today!