A Gift

Since last Thursday, my personal life is topsy-turvy, with many heavy questions and choices pressing in and refusing to give way. Life can be such a challenge when one is walking the path with someone, trying to negotiate the turns. Work, love, progeny… We live in a world of innumerable choices, and I think that this cripples us. At the least, it weights us with greater responsibility for our decisions.

A friend of mine has great talent for artwork and words. Despite the fact that she cares for her 14-month-old child 24/7, she found time in the past week to make a small book of sorts, and on the pages she drew numerous intricate, colorful mandalas. In addition, she chose several poems and quotes that connected in her heart toward mine, one of which was by one of my favorite authors, May Sarton. Another is a poem written by her mother, who died suddenly when my friend was in college. I went over to visit today and she surprised me with this gift. As soon as I read the first poem I began to cry, because it speaks so perfectly to me of myself, at this age. I cherish my friend’s empathy. I will refrain from sharing the poem her mother wrote, as I don’t have permission to reveal the author’s name. However, here is the poem which touches me deeply.

Now I Become Myself

Now I become myself. It’s taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people’s faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
“Hurry, you will be dead before–”
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
So all the poem is, can give,
Grows in me to become the song,
Made so and rooted so by love.
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!

–May Sarton

Explore posts in the same categories: Arts, Humanities, Journal, Quotes

One Comment on “A Gift”

  1. Denny Says:

    Oh, man. After all the pathetic, shallow, self-deluding crap I find on most blogs that passes for poetry, then I see this, by May Sarton. Oh, my.