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POETRY THURSDAY
I ripped this poem out of the Sept/Oct 1993 issue of Ms. magazine, a jagged-edged heavyweight linen-feeling page with a black and white photograph of a woman facing away, her long hair blowing in the wind. Above her is a tall sky filled with white and fluffy, but somehow oppressive, cumulus clouds. Ahead of her is the twisty slingbacked road along the ridge of a highland, shining in the lowering sun. In the fall of 1993 I felt utterly alone. I wasn't dating anyone, and I wasn't in the mood to date anyone. I had been single for a very long time, although I had had some small romances that kept my heart from shriveling completely, but I was convinced that the love of my life was behind me. I had a job I loved, an apartment of my own that I loved in a city I loved and I figured that despite the disappointments of the romances of the past I would be fine on my own as I headed into my 30th year. Which turned out to be one of the best of my life because 6 months later I met Anders. However, in the meantime, I kept this poem because it was comforting to me in a backhanded sort of way.

Traveler's Advisory
by Sharon M. Van Sluys


Expect the worst.
You will slide an incredible distance
before you stop.
Much may be damaged.
Small bones break easily
and heal untrue.

Anticipate corners and snaking ways. Brake.
It is the force, the physics, of such shapes
that do not allow guessing, heroics,
or turning back.

Do not rely upon landmarks. Surely
they will vanish in the ferocity of what
may occur.

Whatever happens, do not panic.
If you do not arrive,
keep your hands in your pockets, the tips
of your ears covered,
your heart bundled.
Do not sleep.
Do not allow yourself to be buried
in the howling
of what might have been.

***

More Poetry Thursday Participants

***

Really Great Writing Out There Right Now: Where My Heart Finds a Home
 thoughtful
mood: thoughtful
music: Fame Original Soundtrack—Desdemona


Comments
(Anonymous)
that last line

is just wondrous. thank you for sharing this poem...and more imporantly, that you for sharing the story of why this poem touches you. bravo to your bravery.
liz elayne

oh, great, thanks! just what i needed to read on the eve before my trip. ;-)

It's not talking about ACTUAL travel, silly. :P

But then again, why not? It works for actual travel. Keeps the eyes squinty. Gotta have squinty eyes.

(Anonymous)

Loving it. Loving all of it. Loving the ending in particular:

Do not allow yourself to be buried
in the howling
of what might have been.


That shit is right on.

~Sprigs

Oh no, poetry THursday! I have one for you, but it's too late, I'm too tired ... and I just got home from two days of celebrating my good friend Joa's 50th birthday out in the country...
I'm barely perusing my friend's page before hitting the sack, so I'll try to get it on here tomorrow (Busy catch-up Friday!)
I have a particular Mary Oliver poem in mind.. hope I can find it : )

I hope you can, too. I adore Mary Oliver.

Love this poem. I'm stuck in the internet cafe without all the pieces I wrote last night...I thought I copied them to my jump drive, but no. So it's raining wildly out there. Wind blowing. Definitely not go out in it weather. So I'm reading my friends list for the first time in weeks upon weeks. And now this poem. Wow. Thanks, Liz.

Great last line!

(Anonymous)
this is awesome

I am loving the poetry thursday-- all this good poetry everybody has stored up like so many acorns--- c'mon squirrels, let's eat!!

~bluepoppy

Wow, great poem. I love the line: Whatever hapens, do not panic if you don't arrive...

So for tomorrow, I will give you a ring when we arrive in Lund - see how the weather is, etc. I am looking forward to spending some time checking out the town and to meeting you and your family. : )

Flying

Sometimes,
on a plane,
you see a stranger.
He is so beautiful!
His nose
going down in the
old Greek way,
or his smile
a wild
Mexican fiesta.
You want to say:
do you know
how beautiful you are?
You leap up
into the aisle,
you can't let him go
until he has touched you
shyly, until you have rubbed him,
oh, lightly,
like a coin
you find on the earth somewhere
shining and unexpected and,
without thinking,
reach for. You stand there
shaken
by the strangeness,
the splash of his touch.
When he's gone
you stare like an animal into
the blinding clouds
with the snapped chain of your life,
the life you know:
the deeply affectionate earth,
the familiar landscapes
slowly turning
thousands of feet below.

Mary Oliver/ American Primitive

aaah. lovely. That was so nice to read.

Thank you for sharing this. Took about three goes to actually get all the words--I'm sure layers of meaning will be sinking in over the days.

xoxo

Oh man, oh man, what a great poem--but even better--your description of the page. I love the way you describe things.

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