Oddments

In search of story


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Connections: October 20

2014-11 - Vernon Hill - 70“Come and sit down!

Join us! Oh, do!

But don’t jostle and crowd —

you’ll spill our brew!

I mean tea.

It’s a lovely day

in our private vale

and we’d love to share

our pot of ale.

I mean tea.

Would you care for souffle

made with eggs from our hen?

It’s quite de rigueur

(eye of newt is so then).

How about curry?

Ragout? Chops?

And then a sip of

our homegrown hops.

I mean tea.

We’ve changed our brand,

updated our life.

We’re over and done

with the Thane of Fife.

But will we change our message?

No, we won’t:

doubt more what your eyes see

than what they don’t.”

So I joined them,

neither green-skinned nor cankered,

munching brie

and sipping from tankard.

I mean teacup.

It was delightful,

our repast en plein air,

and I hope to be so welcomed

next time I’m there.

Thanks once again to the S.W. Berg Photo Archives.

Connections


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Em and M

M — that’s me, Maureen. Em — that’s Emily Dickinson. Today is her birthday, and if she were here she’d be 184 years old. It is hard to believe she was born so long before me; she doesn’t seem that far removed.

When I was a senior in high school, having scraped myself together after a most unillustrious academic beginning, I was invited to a tea hosted by the English Department for its high-achieving students. Each of the honorees received a gift, and mine was a small book of poetry by Emily Dickinson. I was euphoric.

Not long after that, my English teacher called me Emily. I think just once, but with some deliberateness, as I heard it. It affected me.

I have lovingly toted that book through life for over fifty years. I have turned its pages cautiously, careful not to let any of that sparse wording fall out.

Now I have a writing mate who is a poet. Tamara has inspired and challenged, and she is the reason I have been hobnobbing with Emily for the last few months. It’s the writer’s journey, isn’t it? We stretch into the present and then to the past. Never the straight line but always the detour, the roundabout, to that anywhere in search of our own voices.

Living with Emily these past months has been intimidating and encouraging. She was afraid and yet not. Me too.

She made nobody-ness enviable. Which is a good thing for writers.

Happy birthday, Emily. From a fan.

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