I am reading Brian Turner's great book of poetry Here, Bullet, about war and soldiering, Iraq and Afghanistan, life and death and suffering, and it is instructing me and humbling me as I work on the umpteenth revision of The Recruiter. It makes me think of what W.C. Williams said: "You cannot get the news of the day from poems, although men die miserably for lack of what is found there." In this case, I do feel like I get important news from his poems, in a way that brings it home much more urgently and viscerally than the news accounts and even the very good, first-person journalism I've also been reading.
I'm also Novella Carpenter's funny, inspiring, well-written Farm City, adventures of an urban farmer, which is what I someday aspire to become even though I have a black thumb and have killed all but the most hardy of the house-plants (and porch plants) acquired over the years. My Dad has patiently taken me to a nice nursery, and also to Home Depot; he bought me some big planters, and some herbal starts and, well--let's just say that everything can be recycled. Right?
But we were given some beautiful pink heather as a gift, and after neglecting it for a few weeks I finally took it out of its pot and put it into the ground under the fig tree--it likes shade, the little pointy sign said--and watered it, and lo and behold, it has put forth some new bright pink spears! The sight of them makes me so happy that I here and now resolve to turn over a new leaf and start watering things, because what do you know? It really works!!
We are also probably getting a new addition to our household: Christopher is at the vet right now with another of the feral kittens--one of the more sociable ones, who let itself be caught. (Haven't been able to sex it yet, hence: it.)
After getting spayed or fixed, if it's possible, we'll take it in as a brother or sister playmate for Trixie. I got the honor of giving it a name: Blake if it's a boy, Belle if it's a girl. (Trixie-Belle--get it?) Inspiration for the name Blake came from a new novel that's just been published, Her Fearful Symmetry.
The title, of course, is taken from the poem by William Blake: "Tyger, tyger burning bright/In the forests of the night/What immortal hand or eye/Could frame thy fearful symmetry?" Since this kitty and Trixie are both dark-gray tiger-striped, (and both uncommonly handsome), it seems to fit.
It seems strange to be so excited about tiny things like a flower coming back from the almost-dead or a new kitty, when all around us there are the so-much-bigger things that like the Gulf oil spill, or the verdict on the killing of Oscar Grant (which all of Oakland is nervously awaiting), or the war(s) going on around the globe, or the recession (depression? when are they going to use the d-word?) going on. But these little bits of life which we can nurture and enjoy are made even more important in the face of so much we cannot control. And they teach us something important too--how resilient and fierce life itself is, how there is a whole reality going on behind and beyond the headlines which is bigger and stranger, and better than anything we read in the papers.