Today’s Sharp Sparkle

January 20, 2009

. . . What if the mightiest word is love? . . .
Love that casts a widening pool of light . . .

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,
anything can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp.

praise song for walking forward in that light.
                                       — Elizabeth Alexander, b. 1962
                                           American poet

As of today, I am one full week behind on my plan to post every day in 2009. I have a draft or a set of notes for essays about every single day last week, including a celebration of National Clean Off Your Desk Day, a warning to work-avoiding students who might be tempted to download their workload, and the return of Outlaw Maggy, the Toll Booth Scofflaw, to southern New Jersey. And I’ll finish them, because it will amuse me to do so and it will help me arrange my ideas in a formal way, the main reason I blog. I’ll get current and stay current, and fill in the gaps as I go.

But today — today I had to get current.

Back in November, I announced my intention to go to Washington to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama as the forty-fourth president of the United States. I managed to obtain a cheap hotel room in Baltimore near a train station, and I planned to drive to D.C. at the end of the writers’ conference I’d be attending in New Jersey (unless I was in custody for being a toll booth scofflaw).

I abandoned that idea probably a month ago, after I considered the logistics. I have not the stamina to do so much walking, standing, and waiting. And so I came home yesterday, exhausted from the best workshop experience I have ever had (and, considering some of the terrific workshop experiences I’ve had, that is saying a lot), and watched the proceedings in the comfort of my own home on my big screen high definition viewing device.

I spent the weekend in an atmosphere swirling with poets and poetry, and even though I was at the conference to work on a prose piece, I must have been affected by the elevated language and the heightened attunement to image that the energy of poets infuses into the air. Because of all the things I saw and heard today, it was the poem written by Elizabeth Alexander for this occasion that captured what I am feeling, what has been moving me forward, what I am moving toward in a widening pool of light.

The mightiest word is love.

Take out your pencils. Begin.

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