Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Writer's Almanac Brightens My Day

Oh, how I love The Writer's Almanac. Each day I open my email box, and amid the sales pitches, announcements of Dancing Rabbit meeting topics, the occasional note from a friend and the endless tasks to be added to my to-do list, is The Writer's Almanac.

Published daily, it consists of a poem and then snippets about the lives of authors appropriate to the day. Here is today's poem:


by George Bilgere

In the morning, after much delay,
I finally go down to the basement
to replace the broken dryer belt.

First I unbolt the panels
and sweep up the dust mice and crumbling spiders.
I listen to the sounds of the furnace
thinking things over
at the beginning of winter.

Then I stretch out on the concrete floor
with a flashlight in my mouth
to contemplate the mystery
of the pulley-tensioner assembly.

And finally, with a small, keen pleasure,
I slip the new belt over the spindle, rise,
and screw everything back together.

Later, we have a birthday dinner
for my wife's grandmother, who is dying
of bone cancer. Maybe,
if they dial up the chemo, fine tune the meds,
we'll do this again next year.

But she's old, and the cancer
seems to know what it's doing.
Everyone loves her broccoli casserole.
as for the cake, it sits on the table,
a small brown mountain we can't see beyond.

That night I empty the washer,
throw the damp clothes in the dryer.
For half an hour my wife's blouses
wrestle with my shirts
in a hot and whirling ecstasy,

because I replaced an ancient belt
and adjusted the pulley-tensioner assembly.

"Whirlpool" by George Bilgere. © George Bilgere. Reprinted with permission.

How fabulous is THAT! I love being able to take five minutes out of my morning to experience the joy of words, to feel emotions conveyed by those who took the time to craft their feelings into a tangible, sharable package.

Today is the late Frank McCourt's birthday. What a writer he was! Read this snippet:

"People everywhere brag and whimper about the woes of their early years, but nothing can compare with the Irish version: the poverty; the shiftless loquacious father; the pious defeated mother moaning by the fire; pompous priests; bullying school masters; the English and the terrible things they did to us for eight hundred long years. Above all — we were wet."

Is that not a perfect paragraph? It is the book Angela's Ashes in a nutshell. (Have you not read it? You MUST!)

That's it for now. I have four dozen ears of sweet corn to do something spectacular with. What I'd really like to do is steam them all and sit down with a cube a butter, a salt shaker and a big napkin and pig out...but maybe 48 ears is too much even for me! Thanks for stopping by.

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