There are many things for which I could blame my month-long disappearance, but the truth is I simply haven't been in the mood. I'm going to try from now on to post once a week, which I think is a fair goal. But in the meantime, as a little gift to you in apology for my absence, here is the poem I wrote this morning.
I stand before the shelf of slouching books,
cocking my head to scan the lazily leaning spines,
and pause in my search to wonder what it's like
for Sylvia Plath and Proust to live next-door.
Do they talk of a child's drowsy morning sleep
or eternal sleep? At night, in the flash of
passing cars, do they murmur to each other,
remembering things past--two lives, one brief,
one six volumes long, both deeply introspective.
Their conversation is surely more companionable
than that of Patrick O'Brian and Flannery O'Connor,
who simply stare at each other, awkward and at sea,
with nothing at all to say. But Dickens and Dumas
make up for them, filling the long days with
story-telling contests, bartering descriptions
and comparing characters, each wilder than the last.
Faulkner and Fitzgerald fight constantly,
while Virginia Woolf hunches over her knitting,
trying desperately to ignore the jovial,
chuckling P.G. Wodehouse.
But here, now, is the book I'm looking for.
I slide Anna Karenina from the shelf
and go off to bed, leaving Mark Twain
to stretch his arms in relief and invite Thurber
to come over for a frog-jumping contest.