Friday, July 28, 2006

fifty-foot ladder in a one-year gig

Below is Sharon Olds' poem, "Physics"
I am using it in my final sermon at CCUU. It is proving very difficult to write this sermon, as my grieving keeps getting in the way. Their life is in my life, and vice-versa.

Her first puzzle had three pieces,
she'd take the last piece, and turn it,
and lower it in, like a sewer-lid,
flush with the street. The bases of the frames were like
wooden fur, guard-hairs sticking out
of the pelt. I'd set one on the floor and spread
the pieces out around it. It makes me
groan to think of Red Riding Hood's hood,
a single, scarlet, pointed pie, how
long since I have seen her. Later, panthers,
500 pieces, and an Annunciation,
1000 pieces, we would gaze, on our elbows,
into its gaps. Now she tells me
that if I were sitting in a twenty-foot barn,
with the doors open at either end,
and a fifty-foot ladder flew through the barn
at the speed of light, there would be a moment
–after the last rung was inside the barn
and before the first rung came out the other end—
when the whole fifty-foot ladder would be
inside the twenty-foot barn, and I believe her,
I have thought her life was inside my life
like that. When she reads the college catalogues I
look away and hum. I have not grown
up, yet, I have lived as my daughter's mother
the way I had lived as my mother's daughter,
inside her life. I have not been born yet.


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