Posted October 01, 2015
I'm still cleaning out the hoard in my art studio. It's going well. Things are getting tidier. As long as you don't count the giant pile that's accumulated on the landing just outside the studio door. Actually, the art studio has turned into an office. And the landing will become the art studio. No regrets. I worked one day with my newly cleaned desk in front of the window and and I'm never going back to the old way.
It's sometimes tough to know what to do with the treasures I uncover as I sort through these piles. What am I supposed to do with all the papers my mother saved? The account books from my great-grandmother's farm? The player-piano scrolls in their sagging, broken box? Tough questions since I don't have children. If you have children you can always save them as part of the "family history" and then eventually dump them on said progeny. Woe is me.
Anyway, long story short, I found this poem by Charles Rafferty in my hoard. Apparently, I clipped it from the January 17, 2011 issue of The New Yorker so that it could sit in a box on my desk for close to three years before eventually winding up on this aromatherapy mood sprays blog. Where it now lands because it is actually just so perfect for what I'm doing right now, on August 26, 2013. Read it out loud. With poetry, that's the best way.
What does this poem have to do with aromatherapy? A big fat NOTHING. Unless you consider that my anti-Apathy mood spray has been super helpful this week for getting things done. And beyond the mood-enhancing essential oils, the mist kinda dampens down the dust bunnies. But I digress:
THE MAN EXPLAINS HIS SOUVENIRS
by Charles Rafferty
Twenty years ago, the skeleton
of a wild pig gleamed among violets
while the leaf rot around it
grew hot with spring. I slipped
the molar out of its grin like an oiled key
and took it home, leaving the boar
to reassemble, if it ever did,
at a gap-toothed resurrection. I hold it up
to show my daughters. They are less
impressed each year. I have antlers
and trilobites and chips of pretty bedrock
from all the places where the sun came up
to burn me awake with beauty--even
a turtle shell we used as an ashtray
in that first apartment, on the bank
of a creek that flooded every March
and took our trash to sea. All of it
sleeps in a basement box--a kind of coffin
for my former life, but also a proof
that I stooped to the world,
that I kept what came my way.