I didn’t know I loved the spirit in soil deep under reed marshes connected to it through my bones a vision of roiling life
I didn’t know I loved to sing that song could make me cry joy a quick moment on the backs of notes voices together light to dark
I didn’t know that I loved sense of place color memories until they were gone layered goodbyes in dim sunlight dusty motes on gray air
I didn’t know I still loved touch thought it dried and done but not forgotten only to find a fire so ready lit my blood sang even as I would cry aloud
I didn’t know that I loved words that they would fill every empty place pull me with them words from my eyes words from unheard thought
I didn’t know how much I loved my life sweet along with sharp and hard rushing in over tidal flats escaping just as fast that I could cherish it not just live it
____________________________________________ This list poem came out of a short poetry workshop taught in 2015 by the poet Doug Anderson. We read Things I Didn’t Know I Loved by the Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet, and were prompted to write our own list poem by the same title. This is the revised version.
Stars begin to drop into the growing dark of a clear night sky as I come down the mountain to our woods the path familiar my feet sure in waning light I went up alone craving you the burn cleared granite comfort warm at sunset words escaping into the rising drafts as song wait for me I will be there given time
I need a little more time say a month added to each day For love so that its echoes will remain when I am gone To listen once again to live voices in sustained pianissimo And to capture light the way I see it
Birds perch on the balding arms and bud knobbed fingers of the kitchen door apple tree There is a flashing gleam from the eye of a jay the sun finding unlikely passage My mind blinks in disbelief that such a thing could be My heart knows better and begins to sing
The Whites are singing the morning awake today, as the dogs get fed, as I make some tea and watch things busy up out the window over the kitchen sink. Today I am grateful, as always, to see another sunrise, listening to music, in a place that I love deeply. Writing is on my mind this morning, I have had little time or energy for it this week, and it feels luxurious to anticipate the smooth feel of my pen on paper.
Day by day the house is looking a little more Christmas-ish. Favorite memory rich things bringing light and color to December’s squeezing down days. I am riding a wave of work that began the day after Thanksgiving and won’t quit until just before Christmas. It leaves my thoughts dim and cloudy in transition each night, muffled by tiredness., unless there is music to open my heart’s inner ear and let feelings out to air.
Happily this time of year is rich that way. Wednesday night found me singing with the Fitzwilliam Occasional Singers, rehearsing for Sunday afternoon’s tree lighting on the Common. Roughly fifteen of us, friends and fellow singers, gather every year to do this, and my city emigre heart is glad to sing again in a small village, and be part of a gift to the children and families of Fitzwilliam.
It will be full dark as we walk over from the church, just before five. The village windows glowing with candle lights. The tree waiting, unlit. Bustle. Portable lights get turned on. People begin to arrive, drifting into the glow from the recesses of the Common. Children sit on the ground in front, a wide crescent of small bundled up figures and smiling faces. It will be cold (but not as cold as last year, when Deb’s accordion froze up and we had to sing a cappella).
And then we will begin. Walden reading A Visit From St. Nicholas (The Night Before Christmas), Bill leading us through the carols we rehearsed, accompanied by Deb on her accordion. Then a carol sing for everyone (first verses only, and lots of laughter for Rudolph). At last Santa will roll in on the Fitzwilliam Fire Truck to light the tree, and talk to the children.
After there will be hot cocoa (so good in the cold) and home made cookies, while folks visit, then slowly disperse as the evening’s trappings are loaded into cars and trucks, along with us. Dark and quiet will settle on the Common again, except for the tree, its shining presence standing sentry until the new year.