Saturday, August 1, 2015

Saturday Poetry and Sophie



French Chocolates

If you have your health, you have everything
is something that's said to cheer you up
when you come home early and find your lover
arched over a stranger in a scarlet thong.

Or it could be you lose your job at Happy Nails
because you can't stop smudging the stars
on those ten teeny American flags.

I don't begrudge you your extravagant vitality.
May it blossom like a cherry tree. May the petals
of your cardiovascular excellence
and the accordion polka of your lungs
sweeten the mornings of your loneliness.

But for the ill, for you with nerves that fire
like a rusted-out burner on an old barbecue,
with bones brittle as spun sugar,
with a migraine hammering like a blacksmith

in the flaming forge of your skull,
may you be spared from friends who say,
God doesn't give you more than you can handle
and ask what gifts being sick has brought you.

May they just keep their mouths shut
and give you French chocolates and daffodils
and maybe a small, original Matisse,
say, Open Window, Collioure, so you can look out
at the boats floating on the dappled pink water.


Ellen Bass

27 comments:

  1. Aahhhhh. This is wonderful. Poetic salve and a beautiful picture, though I am now curious to try French chocolates.... mission accepted. Thank you for posting this <3

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    1. Let me know what you think of French chocolate. I'm partial to the Belgian.

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  2. Speaks deeply. Thank you.

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  3. Oh but that it would be so!

    Heart tingling picture of the Soph. Thanks so much for capturing it!

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    1. I love the idea of Sophie making your heart tingle -- thank you!

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  4. love Ellen Bass. love this poem. wishing you a Collioure boatload of chocolats français. x0 N2

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  5. Rather love that poem. And the photo of Sophie is beautiful of course.

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  6. Ellen Bass is one of my heroes.

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    1. Mine, too. And didn't you tell me something about her and her work with the sexually abused?

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  7. Oh, Sophie! Oh, Ellen Bass! Oh, Elizabeth, how you bring your whole kick-ass self to everything you do!

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    1. Thank you, Verna. Perhaps this is why I feel beat up?

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  8. That is one of the best poems I have read in a very long time. In fact, I am going to print it out for my patients to read.

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    1. What a great idea, Birdie! I'm sure they'll appreciate it --

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  9. Man, I love this poem -- and the photograph of Sophie, it's -- I'm sorry, I write a word, then erase it, you know? The usual adjectives seem completely trite and inadequate. (Thanks for introducing me to Ellen Bass.)

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    1. Beth, all of Ellen Bass' poetry is wonderful -- utterly accessible and beautiful with lots of dry humor.

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  10. Delurking Elizabeth, to say, with migraine hammering, that I love this poem almost as much as I love your blog.

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    1. I hope your migraine resolves quickly, Sara P, and thank you for delurking and for your kind comment!

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