A tap on the rostrum

 

I’m working on patience, while D reads and adds some edits to this nearly-nearly finished draft of Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts. To help me, I’ve struck on hunting for an epigraph (and possibly a change in title, something which better reflects the energy of the novel).

 

It is hard, and I think I have one from Anne Carson, but along the way I found a poem by Brigit Pegeen Kelly, which in its entirety works as an epigraph, with its imagery of nature, death, motherhood and childhood. Though no one has read the novel in its entirety, here is a little of the poem, which is a terrible beauty:

 

Dead Doe

for Huck

 

The doe lay dead on her back in a field of asters: no.

The doe lay dead on her back beside the school bus: yes.

 

Where we waited.

Her belly white as a cut pear. Where we waited: no: off

from where we waited: yes

 

at a distance: making a distance

we kept,

as we kept her dead run in sight, that we might see if she chose to go skyward;

that we might run, too, turn tail

if she came near

and troubled our fear with presence: with ghostly blossoming: with          the fountain’s

unstoppable blossoming

and the black stain the algae makes when the water

stays near.

 

[…]

The doe lay dead: she lent

her deadness to the morning, that the morning might have weight, that

our waiting might matter: be upheld by significance: by light

on the rhododendron, by the ribbons the sucked mint

loosed on the air,

 

by the treasonous gold-leafed passage of season, and you

from me/child/from me

from…not mother: no:

but the weather that would hold you: yes:

hothoused you to fattest blooms: keep you in mild unceasing rain, and

the fixed

stations of heat: like a pedaled note: or the held

breath sucked in, and stay: yes:

stay

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