Friday, November 9, 2007

"The Journey," by David Ignatow

(p. 20)

I am looking for a past
I can rely on
in order to look to death
with equanimity.
What was given me:
my mother’s largeness
to protect me,
my father’s regularity
in coming home from work
at night, his opening the door silently and smiling,
pleased to be back
and the lights on
in all the rooms
through which I could run
freely or sit at ease
at table and do my homework
undisturbed: love arranged
as order directed at the next day.
Going to bed was a journey.

The simplicity of the words, the short lines, and the straightforward thought help to recreate the well-lighted world of this childhood. I liked the gratitude for such little everyday things: the father’s regularity, the mother’s largeness, the rooms orderly and lit and safe for a child to run or study. My favorite line: “love arranged as order directed at the next day.” It’s interesting that he says he can look at death with calmness because his parents’ loving way of making order in his young life gives him a feeling that there IS order—maybe throughout the whole universe. That maybe Love (in a larger and deeper, maybe divine sense) is also arranged as order pointed toward the next Day.
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