Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Cold Day In Metro DC

Cold days always incite poetry for me. A leaden sky, frozen ponds, and barren tree limbs permeate the landscape like forgotten children. On days like these, I refuse to concentrate on anything but the most mundane of tasks: drinking hot chocolate, thinking about language, perhaps shampooing my hair.

But clearly today is not a day for politics, unless I'm examining the politics of language. Today is not a day for confrontation, unless I'm going to wrestle with metaphors. Today is not a day for sadness unless I'm going to turn a tear inside out and examine its dry interior.

I feel the winter air cut through my pile, yellow pullover. I am reminded that winter has its place in my life. It's a time to reflect, a time to contemplate, and a time for peace.

Beyond me I know that someone's life is in chaos. I offer the peace of this winter morning in metro DC where the words of Robert Hayden, another Michigander like me, create a subtle, yet contentious memory of a boy and his father on a winter Sunday morning.

Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?

Enjoy this winter day.


Judy said...

Love your thoughts, and that is one of my favorite poems. I think it is in my Poetry 180 anthology edited by Billy Collins. I will bookmark your blog spot, my kindred spirit friend. Thanks for sharing.

And All That's Jazz said...

I recall fondly sitting at the end of your bed, awaiting an invitation to share in your private thoughts and partake of your wisdom. Looking up to you…my eldest sister…my “big” sister. Reminiscent of my youth, I will anxiously await your daily blog. Thank you!


M. L. Simms said...

Judy, I can always count on you to be so familiar with poets. We have been sharing poems with each other since we met.

M. L. Simms said...

Nina Simone, thank you for your comment. I have to remember that I journal within a context: family, friends, meals, and life. I believe that you and Cynthia bought me my second diary/journal. And I still have it.

ssascms said...

Michele, "Shelley", my second born and the first of three daughters. Always reading and writing just as long as I can remember. Being a Capricorn like "Mom", the source of your inspirations is genuinely understandable. Needless to say, I look forward to reading your daily blogs!

Charles Simms, Sr. (Dad)

M. L. Simms said...

Dad, thanks. Of course, I am indebted to mom for giving me the gift of language and the love of the text. And I am equally indebted to you for going to work everyday while I sat around the house reading and writing well past the age when I should have taken a job and been financially independent. I can never repay you enough for allowing me a life of the mind.