Anne Notations

Friday, August 24, 2007

And so forth

Grace Paley, poet and author of fiction, has died of cancer at age 84, at her home in Vermont. I knew her only as a voice, through her poems, but when I Googled for a photograph of her just now, I was pleased to find a strong, rounded face and thick antic hair: not a fragile lady but a lioness.

Here is a poem by Paley about being old. Not "elderly"; no euphemisms for this writer. Old.

In old age she found love and grace. Grace, I adore your poem.


Here I am in the garden laughing
an old woman with heavy breasts
and a nicely mapped face

how did this happen
well that's who I wanted to be

at last a woman
in the old style sitting
stout thighs apart under
a big skirt grandchild sliding
on off my lap a pleasant
summer perspiration

that's my old man across the yard
he's talking to the meter reader
he's telling him the world's sad story
how electricity is oil or uranium
and so forth I tell my grandson
run over to your grandpa ask him
to sit beside me for a minute I
am suddenly exhausted by my desire
to kiss his sweet explaining lips.


Post a Comment

<< Home