Thursday, September 02, 2010


I sometimes take my cat Gracie's box of ashes to bed with me and talk to her whenever I feel especially sad and lonesome. Last night I did. Here's a poem I wrote in May 2009, a month after she died:


I'd imagined me trapped
in your game-world forever.
My real-life cat
dragging herself from corner to
corner, while your glass-enclosed "No"
echoed over phone and 'Net,
pinballing off my walls.

I could not flip it back.
Still it wracked up its score, bouncing
off both wacky bells and my girl's
silent writhing.

Now through my screen
the smells of the sun and grass and asphalt
rise to a new season. It's May.

On my wall
the light and leaves shy lashes
butterfly kisses
leaving, alighting again
flirting with my cat's ashes.

In her place I soak up the shimmering sun.
I stroke my hair and arch my back
and let my eyes go green.
In shadows glancing off you, and me, and

--SJ, May 2009


And while reading the above poem from a May 2009 blog entry, I came across another entry from that same month. Rilke really helped me then. I must read, read, and read again, and allow his spirit to enter me again. I have got to transform all of this darkness into something. He shows how it's possible.

"Everything is far
and long gone by.
I think that the star
glittering above me
has been dead for a million years.
I think there were tears
in the car I heard pass
and something terrible was said..."

-- Rilke, from "Lament"

"That is at bottom the only courage that is demanded of us: to have courage for the most strange, the most singular and the most inexplicable that we may encounter...And if only we arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust and find most faithful. How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us."

-- Rilke, from "Letters to a Young Poet"

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