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Posts Tagged ‘homage’

     for Janet Kaye Schoeberlein, March 26, 1930-Dec. 28, 2021

When I was fourteen, Jan gave me her flannel nightgowns,
the long white ones with tiny blue flowers
that I had admired on her for years.
When I wore them, I wore
the classical music always playing
in the background in her home.
I wore the high tilting treble of her voice
as she sang around the campfire.
I wore her world class hiccups that always
seemed to arrive when she didn’t approve
of what was about to happen.
I wore desert river adventures
and trips to the theater downtown
and dinners with foods I’d never tried before.
And though I didn’t know it then,
I wore the past of her childhood in Germany,
and her memory of how she graduated law school
as the only woman in her class.
I wore her willingness to raise her young nephew
and her joy in raising her daughter
and the way she always said my name
as if I were a south American flower.
Those nightgowns, I took their shape,
loved the way their soft cloth swirled
around my body, wrapping me in eccentricity.
I still wear the other hand me downs she gave me—
Curiosity. Independence. Individuality.
Because she was so herself,
she taught me I could trust myself to be me.
She was the queen of oddness,
a model of uniqueness,
an archetype of being true.
To this day I feel these qualities
swirl around me, too—
the comfort of her integrity
the warmth of her generosity,
the way Jan was so very, very Jan.

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Wild and Precious

 

—for Mary Oliver, January 17, 2019

 

 

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

—Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

 

 

And when she said, “you don’t have to be good,”

my whole body became wild goose

as the truth of her lines winged through.

 

And when she asked, “what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?”

I walked outside and heard the low river.

 

And when she suggested we live

as “a bride married to amazement,”

I made my vows to life.

 

On the day that she died, the winter

was too warm for snow, and the rain

gave luster to every sullen thing.

 

In me, a storm threatened to rise,

but the only words that would find my lips

were thank you, thank you, thank you.

 

 

 

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