Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Moments of Irreversible Change

Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge in poemcrazy: freeing your life with words asks the reader to think of a time or irreversible change – a moment when you knew that everything afterward would be different, and there was no going back.

I can think of several such moments, so many, in fact, that it might be more difficult to think of moments when irreversible change didn’t happen. Still, I followed my assignment and came up with a list of the major things.

The night I became a Christian. Even if I chose to backslide, the moment would change everything.

The day I got married. I knew, standing at the front of Mildred Crowe Baptist Church in Shreveport, La., and waiting for Janet to walk up the aisle with her father, that everything after this would be different.

When I moved from New Orleans to Baton Rouge for school, and then to Beaumont for my first job, and then to Houston, and then to St. Louis.

The birth of our first child changed a couple into a family. The birth of our second child seven years later changed our family yet again.

When we left the church we attended, and the church we loved.

The births of our first and second grandchildren.

At work: the day I wrote a speech that changed everything, and then a second speech that changed everything yet again.

The publication of a first novel, and then the second.

The day I first posted a poem on this blog, and the raw vulnerability I felt when I did it.

Family changes – like the changes involved in caring for an elderly parent.

I likely had the impression that change slowed as you got older. What I’m finding is that it’s happening faster – the changes seem to accelerating. I’m not sure what that means; maybe it’s a common phenomenon. It is perhaps one reason why I write, or try to write, poetry – to help make sense of change. It’s certainly one reason why I read poetry.

The lines, some rhyming
some not, become a ship,
a small ship, perhaps only
a boat, a means to simply
travel or travel simply,
to where he does not know,
does not see but accepts
with mind, soul, heart,
all components of love.
Sometimes he sails, his hand
sweating on the rudder.
Sometimes he sails, rudderless.
Sometimes he is asked
to build the boat and allow it
to set sail into the wind
on the waves, his heart
contained inside.

Today we finish our discussion of poemcrazy at Tweetspeak Poetry. Please visit the site to see what assignments others took on, and the places to which they set sail. (And yes, Wooldrige lower-cased the title of her book in homage to e.e. cummings.)

Photograph by Sharon Apted via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.


Maureen said...

Tender piece, Glynn. Nice use of sailing for your metaphor.

Unknown said...

I finally ordered this book the other day. I'm sorry I will likely miss participating in the book club discussion. But this post makes me glad I'll soon have it in my hands.

michelle ortega said...

What a beautiful image of an incredible journey.
"allow it to set sail into the wind on the waves", such graceful obedience to a call.