A week of poet-delights! Restoration arrived in the mail, a surprise gift from heart-of-gold poet Christina Pugh. Then I attended a reading by Louise Glück, whose A Village Life sold out within minutes after her question & answer session ended.
From morning until late afternoon, I sat under a grapefruit tree reading psalms… one after another… until rust-colored hummingbirds shrieked at me in hummingbird language: “Eeeeeee!”
I wasn’t even reading aloud.
The last time I presented a threat to hummingbirds, I was using my power drill to uproot an old satellite dish my association deemed unsightly.
How do you say, “Peace. I mean no harm,” in hummingbird language?
My little English department sponsored a regional conference, where I enjoyed fellowshipping with over 90 attendees. We hosted 25 panel sessions with approximately 75 presenters. “Just add mini-cheesecakes, fresh fruit, and cucumber sandwiches,” I said. “Presto! Now we have instant Bloomsbury… within budget.”
So, all that’s left for the rest of the semester are registration week, two annual assessment meetings, one assessment report, one action plan for next year, a smattering of committee work with “next steps,” one year-end internal budget review, appreciations to the adjunct instructors, capstone portfolios to evaluate, papers to grade, final catalog edits, one survey monkey (pas de jokes ’bout survey zebras or survey giraffes or survey elephants, s’il vous plaît), and other quixotic miscellania.
God will carve out quiet spaces for me to review my notes for a lecture at Cal State and a reading at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, both later this month.
None of this goes forward without prayer… we are nothing without grace.
I had fallen
asleep in the sunlit
room the only sunny
room in the house
and I dreamed
you were talking:
Well, and don’t
you see, your voice
rising as in clear
is the sweetest
dream) your hands
in transport to drape a large
book an atlas
its jacket as an ocean
–from Restoration (TriQuarterly Books 2008)
by Christina Pugh
a small token in appreciation for your work,
Omoiyari wears two faces,
though difficult to see sometimes,
the first surrounded by a grace
that beckons us to join her there.
Her second face is rarely seen,
it hides behind her sister’s mask,
and there can only wait, deceived
until the first face moves aside.
– red slider