A poem for Susan P. Bachrach (November 1939 – May 2013).
This poem was written soon after Sue Bachrach’s death, by Dorian Brooks, poet and activist for women’s and American Indian rights, and a Radcliffe classmate of mine and Sue’s. Sue was a devoted student of art history and traveled to Germany to research and write about the painter Paula Modersohn-Becker. Her essay of some 20 years ago “Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907): Woman and Artist as Revealed Through Her Depiction of Children” may be found at Fembio: Woman and Artist Through her Depiction of Children. Sue was diagnosed with…
I’ve always been a reluctant cell phone user. For years I had a jumbo-sized Nokia of a generation that still sported an extendable antenna. Since its battery would run down after about an hour I took it with me only on rare occasions and told few people my number. In fact, I had a hard time remembering the number myself. Basically I was happy with my home telephone, or “land line,” which worked reliably and had a number I could recite in my sleep.
However, as my partner, sister, daughters and sons-in-law all gradually acquired up-to-date smart phones and could be reached in the grocery…
oops – another month gone by!
time to change the calendars –
a different view of granddaughters
a different arrangement of fruit –
turn over the page and forget
the penciled appointments and events
that seemed so urgent
at the time
another month gone by
another month gone
another week gone by!
time to put the garbage out –
seven days' accretion to be dispatched,
plastic and paper to the recycling bin,
while orange peel and banana skin
will head for the dump to decay
the pile of newspapers, mostly unread,
will transmigrate and return again,
along with their stories of war…
(Deutsche Übersetzung unten)
Today we walked at Forest Hills,
Historic graveyard, well maintained,
Its residents, the living and the dead,
Ignore the charms of nature and of art.
Such pleasures are enjoyed
By those who come to walk.
A perfect day: the sun is warm, the breezes fresh;
No one in sight but for a strolling older couple –
She gives a smile, he glares and grunts –
Would they be first-time visitors,
Admiring statues by the paths
Or searching out a chiseled name?
Familiar with the stony shapes,
We focus on the living:
Below, the mushrooms throng near spruce and…
Do you remember the original? “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.” If you recall the quote and who said it, you must be almost as old as the general in question at the time he said it: Douglas MacArthur, 71, in his farewell speech to Congress in 1951 after having been fired by President Truman for speaking out of turn.
I’ve been struck lately by the number of words or phrases that are no longer current, but increasingly jump unbidden to mind. It happens sometimes when I’m talking with Luise and have to explain a meaning; though her English is near-perfect, it doesn’t always…