Anne Notations

Monday, March 30, 2009

Once. Twice.

An intense, infrequent pleasure of mine in a previous job was attending meetings in New York City. The journey may have been more fondly anticipated than its destination.

I always took the train, and in those days our budget (and company policy) allowed me to travel in the "club car" or first class – a separate large, comfy seat; complimentary soft drinks; waiter and porter service by an Amtrak attendant. The tracks between Providence and New York pass by miles of saltwater marshes and beaches, and I always made sure to sit on the side nearest the ocean in order to savor the views.

Last week I cleaned out some file cabinets at work – a walk through my writing history – and found these musings scribbled on a note pad.

On observing; on being observed

Out the train window I see two swans gliding in an inlet fringed by seagrass. I see, on the edge of a deserted beach, a doe regarding my train without fear.

No one else in this train car is looking out the window; they are hunched over Wall Street Journals and thick typed reports. I pity them!

I think: The deer and swans exist. They are because they are. But when I see them, they are twice over. They exist both in their reality and in mine.

Perhaps this is what we are seeking when we yearn to be noticed, to be considered, by our fellow humans. We seek a sort of immanence by achieving multiple incarnations: in our own consciousness (guaranteed while we're alive and well) and in that of others (hoped for). Even better is to be not only noticed but remembered.

How sweet, how rare the adjective "memorable"! To be noticed and remembered is to be multiplied and given life after life after life.

Those swans and that deer are long dead as I type this blog entry, but here they are before my eyes again, warm-blooded and alert; immortal.


  • I want to thank fellow blogger Rabbi Neil Fleischmann, whose observation that a much earlier post of mine could be turned into a poem has inspired me to write, and then rewrite as poetry.

    Here's what I just did with this particular post.

    Observing observed

    Out the window I see
    two swans gliding in an inlet
    fringed by seagrass. I see,
    on the edge of a deserted beach, a doe
    regarding my racing train without fear.

    The deer and swans exist.
    They are because they are.
    When I see them, they are twice over –
    their reality, and mine.

    How sweet, how rare is memorable!
    To be noticed is to be
    multiplied, immanent.
    To be seen is to be given life after life
    after life.

    By Blogger Anne D., at Mon Mar 30, 09:52:00 AM EDT  

  • I really liked this post. I need to get comfortable scanning. I loved seeing the original diary in the oringial script.

    Maybe that's part of it - part of why I liked the prose part so much. I think it reads well as an in the moment, organic, journal piece, unedited.

    Had I seen the poem first I'd have been blown away by the poem. Having been taken by the essay style first, so raw and real, I am biased to - in this case - prefer the prose to the poem.

    It is kind of you to thank me. It is an honor to have inspired you. It boggles my mind - the ripple effects of blogging - the poetry I've inspired in people who inspire me.

    By Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann, at Mon Mar 30, 09:56:00 PM EDT  

  • Neil, I thank you for your feedback. I agree with you on this prose/poem pair... the prose works better while still retaining a poetic flow IMO. I am enjoying dabbling around with the poetry adaptations though. It's freeing and fun! I enjoyed writing poetry in high school (the usual teenaged stuff) but became too self-conscious to try it as an adult. Now I'm past the point of feeling vulnerable in that way. Yay.

    (boggles.... ripple... blogging...)

    By Blogger Anne D., at Tue Mar 31, 08:49:00 AM EDT  

  • Poetry
    was once
    how people talked,
    an organic speech pattern.
    Not trying to be fancy,
    it just was what it was.
    It wasn't forced on anyone.
    A word like "boggle"
    followed by "blogging"
    was simply

    I was just now inspired to write this via your comment on my comment on your comment about my comment on a prior post, which inspired your previous poem based post, and now this one with the poem encrypted in the comments.

    I think I may post it on my blog and say a few words abut the style.

    By Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann, at Tue Mar 31, 08:03:00 PM EDT  

  • Beautiful, Anne.

    I crossed the country in a train to get to and from my cousin's wedding in 1991 and because my mother couldn't go with us, I stood at the window much of the time, videotaping the entire route.

    There were still things I missed, my Nan saw something in the Utah desert she said looked straight out of X-Files, and I didn't have the camera running when a man watching the train pass in Denver seemed to point right at me and raise his hands in salute. It was one of those things that stuck with me, even now. Being the doofus I was back then every time I would see a horse I'd make a big deal, so when I remember the trip, in my head, I hear, "Horsie!" a lot.

    I think I'm trying to agree that the view from a train is awesome. ^_^

    By Blogger BrideOfPorkins, at Wed Apr 01, 11:59:00 PM EDT  

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