Thursday, October 13, 2016

Swimming to Shore

I lay on my bed for many hours yesterday. Flat on my back, staring at the ceiling when I wasn't playing Solitaire on my phone or carrying on on Facebook. I felt beyond drained. Spent. All used up. I felt filled with sorrow and sadness and loss and loneliness later that night. I thought about my friends who spend days and weeks and months in hospitals with their children. I remembered the many days I spent in hospitals during the early years of Sophie's life and don't remember how I did it. My body bears the memory in muscle and sinew, brain synapse. I think of Sophie's brain and kindling, the cascade of spark. I think of doctors in earnest boxes and those that believe so earnestly in them. Again, sorrow and sadness and loss and loneliness. I don't believe in the divine but am grateful for the divine comedy. Every thought spins another and the other is a gentle admonition that it's not that bad. There's perspective. There's Aleppo. There's my cousin in Mississippi who lost her beloved teenaged stepdaughter in a car accident on Tuesday morning. There's the very fact that I can lie on a bed for five hours staring at the ceiling, let sorrow and sadness and loss and loneliness wash over me, the bed a boat bobbing.

Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature this morning, and I am glad. I'm glad because his poetry and song has shaped my adult life. Even as my mind doesn't understand, my body -- muscle and sinew, bone, mouth, tongue -- does, and I am alive. I got up and out of the boat and swam to shore.

Though you might hear laughing, spinning, swinging madly through the sun
It's not aimed at anyone
It's just escaping on the run
And but for the sky there are no fences facing
And if you hear vague traces of skipping reels of rhyme
To your tambourine in time
It's just a ragged clown behind
I wouldn't pay it any mind
It's just a shadow you're seeing that he's chasing

Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow


  1. My friends and I were in high school when the first album came out; we immediately snatched up the few copies that were available and rushed home to our turntables and poured over every detail. I suspect a lot of boomers find this award very poignant.

  2. I think that evocative title of a Susan Straight novel ," I've Been In Sorrow's Kitchen And Licked Out All The Pots"( close to that title anyway. Your writing moves me. Thank you.

  3. When I was a freshman in high school I had an English teacher that taught Dylan's poetry all year. I've thought of him as a poet first since then. I heard someone on NPR today say that his words really only worked with his music. But I think that's so wrong, they truly stand on their own.
    As do yours.

  4. I love what Bruce said about Bob in his book- "He is the father of my country."
    Oh Elizabeth! Of course you had to take a day to let it all go. Or as much as possible. My god! You've been through the wringer.
    Again. You are the MOTHER of your country.
    Loving you to pieces...Mary

  5. Im sorry I haven't posted in a long time. I'm over here in my corner of the world holding back the river, bobbing on a bed, drifting aimlessly too. It's no excuse, I should be a better cyber-friend :). I do always think of you and Sweet Sophie and feel like we're kindred spirits, mucking through the same God forsaken sh*t. I'm glad she's home from the hospital. I'm glad for things to be glad about, and cry with you for the things that aren't. XOXOXOXO

  6. "Forever Young"

    May God bless and keep you always
    May your wishes all come true
    May you always do for others
    And let others do for you
    May you build a ladder to the stars
    And climb on every rung
    May you stay forever young
    Forever young, forever young
    May you stay forever young.

    May you grow up to be righteous
    May you grow up to be true
    May you always know the truth
    And see the lights surrounding you
    May you always be courageous
    Stand upright and be strong
    May you stay forever young
    Forever young, forever young
    May you stay forever young.

    May your hands always be busy
    May your feet always be swift
    May you have a strong foundation
    When the winds of changes shift
    May your heart always be joyful
    And may your song always be sung
    May you stay forever young
    Forever young, forever young
    May you stay forever young.



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