Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Friend’s Umbrella


.
.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, toward the end
of his life, found the names
of familiar objects escaping him.
He wanted to say something about a window, 
or a table, or a book on a table.
.

But the word wasn't there,
although other words could still suggest
the shape of what he meant.
Then someone, his wife perhaps,
.

would understand: "Yes, window! I'm sorry,
is there a draft?" He'd nod.
She'd rise. Once a friend dropped by 
to visit, shook out his umbrella
in the hall, remarked upon the rain.
.

Later the word umbrella
vanished and became
the thing that strangers take away.
.

Paper, pen, table, book:
was it possible for a man to think
without them? To know 
that he was thinking? We remember
that we forget, he'd written once, 
before he started to forget.
.

Three times he was told
that Longfellow had died

.
Without the past, the present
lay around him like the sea.
Or like a ship, becalmed,
upon the sea. He smiled
.

to think he was the captain then,
gazing off into whiteness,
waiting for the wind to rise. 
.

~ Lawrence Raab
.

reblogged from: http://peacefullpresence.blogspot.com/
.

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