The muscles in my legs have been achy and sore for two days. No, I didn’t go jogging (horror!). I spent most of Saturday rearranging my books, and it seems I vastly underestimated the after-effects of shuffling books from shelves to floor and back to different shelves.
The big book shuffle was prompted by a single new bookcase. It arrived on Friday, packed in one slender yet unbelievably heavy box. On Saturday morning the three boys tackled it with their respective hammers (plastic for the two-year-old, which pleased him not at all).
Within half an hour I was standing in front of one of the loveliest sights I can imagine: pristine, empty bookshelves.
They didn’t stay empty long. I gathered up the piles of books which have quietly accumulated in the corners of my house, and, after much dusting and a thorough rearranging, discovered that I should have ordered two new bookcases.
No matter. I can’t think of a better way to spend a cloudy, drizzly Saturday than handling (and remembering) each of my books as I slide them into place.
It was only as I carried my poetry collection from family room built-ins to dining room shelves that my pleasure dimmed. I haven’t reached for any of these books in such a long time (not since my last Intro. to Lit. class), and I felt suddenly sad to think of so much treasure sitting untouched, collecting dust.
I had the idea, then, to share some of these poems here on my blog. I grant you, it’s very self-indulgent. But isn’t blogging always that, to some extent?
The thing I’ve long loved most about teaching is the simple act of sharing beautiful things. I’ve missed that.
So, without further ado, a poem for you (inspired by last week’s post on the magic of mirrors):
Miracle Glass Co.
Heavy mirror carried
Across the street,
I bow to you
And to everything that appears in you,
And never again the same way:
This street with its pink sky,
Row of gray tenements,
A lone dog,
Children on rollerskates,
Woman buying flowers,
Someone looking lost.
In you, mirror framed in gold
And carried across the street
By someone I can’t even see,
To whom, too, I bow.
– Charles Simic
This is a perfect ode, in my opinion, for kicking off plans to reacquaint myself with the poetry on my shelves. It reminds me that creating art is often as simple as reframing the everyday (as my sister’s photograph moves us to see peeling paint with new eyes).
Within the gold frame of a poem, the ordinary is transformed. Simic is right. It is a miracle.
Blowing the dust off of a poem and reading it, we bow to the vision it offers, we bow to its maker, the poet, and we remember our own maker, who created us to create.