Welcome from Amy D. Unsworth

Language, Literature, Learning & Life.

Why the answers change

I am a person who thrives on routine. If someone says the plan is "a, b, c," I'm good with "a, b, c" but when the plan changes, "2xa, +b, -c, +e and f" I get a bit stressed.

I am not very flexible.

Perhaps Yoga would help.

On a poetry note, I don't often push boundaries and submission deadlines, but due to this messed up bit of my life, I did this week. And they were nice enough to let me know that they'd still consider it. A small bright spot!

There is sun today and the snow is melting away. I hope it is enough to raise my spirits a bit.
"February, Thinking of Flowers" by Jane Kenyon seems apt today. Bees, and the garden in the late afternoon haze.

Cleaning out dusty shelves, I came across a poem I don't remember writing. I remember the experiences of the poem, but not writing it. This feels a bit odd and a bit like reading a stranger's diary. Except it's my handwriting and my memories.

Some Answers

Last time 'round, I did a chemotherapy called "MAID" which required hospitalization for 5 days for each round. It was tough but I made it through. This time, because different cancers respond to different chemotherapy drugs, the doctor is sending me for a variation of Folfox, which is outpatient and only a few hours long once a week. If all goes well, I might be done with the active part by mid-summer. I am feeling much better about this treatment. I didn't know how I would manage to be in the hospital so much again, so it is a relief that this one will be less time consuming.

It's hard to write without feeling like I'm wallowing.

This is; I'm dealing with it; life goes on.

Yellow Calla Lillies

you must be depressed my neighbor says as she drops off lillies
i'm looking forward to spring and hope you'll be well by then
spring? with six new inches of snow tonight? this spring?
I can't even bear to lie and say no or yes

the days are fine, but evening and each day's death
too much. I wait for the sun, for April, for answers.

Lake with Ice

We drove out to the lake yesterday and again this evening. The skies are filled with Canada geese, snow geese, and a multitude of ducks with their wings beating wildly. The lake is almost frozen solid, and this is a huge lake mind you, and the ducks and geese crowd around the edges of the open water.

Yesterday, between the flights of geese, I spotted an eagle. I've been lucky to see at least one or so a year as long as we've lived here. I don't know what he was doing, though, flying over the cow barns at the ag college. Picking off pigeons perhaps?

Tonight at dusk, we drove by a field with hundreds of mallards. The sound of them taking flight was beautiful. Comically, a few ducks stayed down until the flock was quite far away. Then, one would rise up and frantically flap towards the flock. This was repeated several times; I suspect they believed the flock would resettle, but they were off towards the lake to raft for the evening.

A heron waded in the overflow of the dam; a flock of redheads flew above us. The ducks seem frantic in flight compared to the measured flapping of the geese.

How to make this poetry? I'm still thinking about it.

New Stack

I've bought a few new books from the local booksellers:

The Darkness Around Us is Deep Selected Poems of William Stafford
The Names of the Rapids by Jonathan Holden
Mystery, So Long by Stephen Dobyns
Now that my Father Lies Down Beside Me by Stanley Plumly
A New Selected Poems by Galway Kinnell
The Collected Poems of Weldon Kees
Trans by Hilda Raz
New and Selected Poems by Mary Oliver
Silence in the Snowy Fields by Robert Bly
Ten Russian Poets: Surviving the 20th Century

I catch whispers of them talking together on the shelf: "my only swerving," "that urge towards more life," "announcing your place/in the family of things," "what the full moon portends--/nothing," "the ways of dying, the ways of sleep."

Awake and listening, I pay attention.

Revising one's plans

So, just over two weeks ago, the doctors showed me a photograph of the cancer infecting my intestines. And last week, I went under the knife and had that piece of the plumbing removed.

With that done, I've also lost most of my teaching related to-do list, the semester is scrapped, and I'm not sure what to do with myself right now. But I need a list, so I'm thinking that these few months, while I'm recovering and possibly still fighting off illness, I'll focus on my own poetry. I knew last semester that I needed to create time to write in my daily life; here is the time. I know I need to send some more work "out" and of course, read more; here is the time.

The surgeon is near my age. We went to universities in neighboring towns. I wonder if I ever fed him a meal in all my years of waiting tables.

They make it seem so easy; open, snip, stitch, staple. Yet, I feel like a handful of loose beads after the strand has been severed.