Friday, January 8, 2010

Grief and Advice to Myself by Louise Erdrich

I have read and own every book written by Louise Erdrich.   My good friend, Angie C., turned me on to her with a copy of "Love Medicine" many years ago and I fell instantly in love with her writing and mesmerizing storytelling.  Her novels stay with you long after you finish reading them and the poems in the volume pictured above are all amazing.  Ms. Erdrich has an old soul and a heart overflowing with hard-earned wisdom and a deep love of language. 

I share two of her poems below.  I've posted "Advice to Myself" here before, but it bears repeating.  It's a perfect poem for the new year.  It's cold down here in the bayous and swamps and I am a total wussy about the cold.  I know my friends up North (as in Canada) are laughing their asses off at me, but we just do not get this kind of cold down the teens with wind chill factors in the single digits.  (Global warming, my ass!!)  My only hope is that it'll kill off our mosquito population for once.  (One can always dream.....LOL!)  I wish you all love, a warm fire and a good book to read. 

Love & Blessings,



By Louise Erdrich

Sometimes you have to take your own hand
as though you were a lost child
and bring yourself stumbling
home over twisted ice.

Whiteness drifts over your house.
A page of warm light
falls steady from the open door.

Here is your bed, folded open.
Lie down, lie down, let the blue snow cover you.


Advice to Myself
By Louise Erdrich

Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don't patch the cup.
Don't patch anything. Don't mend. Buy safety pins.
Don't even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don't keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll's tiny shoes in pairs, don't worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don't even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don't sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we're all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don't answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in though the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don't read it, don't read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.

~From: "Original Fire: New and Selected Poems", page 149


Kay said...

Firstly, your Fiona Apple playing has by far always been my favorite bath time CD...hearing makes me want to go soak in a nice hot, bubbling bath! awwww...if only i could....

i'll definately look into Louise Erdrich, i'm in need of some "mesmorizing storytelling"

Marion said...

Kay, I love Fiona Apple, too. Glad you enjoyed the music. Start at the beginning if you read Louise Erdrich's novels...'Love Medicine' is the first. I'm sure your local library will have them. Many of her characters appear in subsequent books. You're in for a real treat. Blessings!

Kelly said...

I really like both of these poems!

We got to 16 last night. Brrrr!!! You know, I don't think the mosquitos, ticks and fleas EVER really go away. We can wish, though, can't we!?

Stay warm!

Marion said...

Kelly, I may be losing my memory, but I can't recall it EVER being this cold here. I went and put out bird seed for my many bird-friends and all of my bird baths had over an inch of solid ice on them! I had to break them with a brick. Glad you enjoyed the poems. Blessings!!

Marion said...

I'm so sorry you have that dratted Cold so far down South! One does grow accustomed to it, but I fear for your plants, which will not grow accustomed to icy temps that go on for long periods.

I would never, not even your being a wuss over the cold! It'll change again soon.

I loved the poetry and although the name is familiar, I've not read Erdrich, I don't think. I will look her up, though. Thanks for this post!

From the Canadian Marion who lives in mostly minus temps during the long, long Cariboo Winter!

Marion said...

Marion, I appreciate your sympathy. I've got sheets over all of my tender bushes, but I'm out of sheets now. I took cuttings this year of many of my plants/bushes and have them in the house. I'm worried about my little Orange Tree I planted last year which has been soldiering the cold valiently so far. I'll have to cover it, for sure. Sigh. You have my utmost respect, Canadian Marion!! Thanks for stopping by. Blessings!!

She Writes said...

I am stunned at the beauty of her work. You have given me a newa author, a gift!

You have a song on here I love, a new version.

Woman in a Window said...

Hummmm, 're you talkin' ta me? 're You takin' TA ME?

I hear you, Marion. We all do. You are gracious with your poems as gifts of solace.

Marion said...

SheWrites, you're welcome. Blessings!

Erin, well, the book fell open....and, and, you know...... xo

Karen said...

I'm a big Louise Erdrich fan, too, Marion. It was Love Medicine that hooked me, as well; however, I didn't know she was a poet and have never read any of her poetry before now. I will find that book! Grief makes me want to cry, and Advice to Myself makes me want to read it again and again. Wonderful choices for this frigid day.

Rick said...

Marion- I fell into it, full, but then the grown up in me (very little) said yeah, but the shit's gonna hit the fan tomorrow. Damn. ~rick

Marion Williams-Bennett said...

This is a new author for me, and I am thrilled to find it here.

Advice to Myself is just that, indeed.

Keep warm...cold is cold!

Marion said...

Karen, you'll really enjoy her poetry. Blessings!

Rick, slap that grown-up and listen to the kid in you. Works for me. LOL! Blessings, my friend!

Marion, she's an amazing author and person. I just love discovering new authors. I often wish I'd never read her so I could start all over again!! You stay warm, too. The sun is blazing today and it's all of 19 degrees, but I'm sure it'll warm up. Blessings!

Renee said...

You have the most beautiful heart dear Marion and all of us who know you love you dearly.

Love Renee xoxo

Cynthia said...

Hi Marion, I just discovered Louise E. about
three years ago. Her poetry for me is so
clean, authentic, gives me goosebumps because
of the knowledge within the lines of the poem.

Both poems you've posted here are perfect for
this New Year, at least for me anyway.

Thank you.

Marion said...

Renee, right back at you. We were sisters in a former life, for sure. I love you, dearest precious friend. Blessings---xoxoxo

Cynthia, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the poems and love Ms. Erdrich. Some of the best friends I have were made due to a shared love of words/books. Blessings!!

Anonymous said...

You always open windows within me; always. Know that!

Marion said...

Thank you, Saraha. You yourself open the windows of my soul wide open to the sun....always, too. Love & Blessings!!

Phoenix said...

Gorgeous...both of those poems, and you. Just gorgeous.

Marion said...

Thank, Phoenix. Back at you. :-) xoxo

akka b. said...

Marion ~~~~ so happy to stumble upon this thoughtful place. I'm going to enjoy perusing the wonderful artists/writers you highlight. Oh...and your list of interests on your profile? Well, I tried to diving right into the middle of it all, because um, it's all so scrumptious really. cheers!

akka b.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

what poetic form is used in 'grief'? does anyone have any insights as to the relation between the style and content of this poem?