When I was learning to creep, my mother set me down on the beach to see what I thought of it. I crawled straight for the coming wave and was just through the wall of green when she caught my heels.
My mother had taught shorthand and typing to support us since my father died, and secretly she hated it and hated him for dying and leaving no money because he didn’t trust life insurance salesmen.
I think that personal experience is very important, but certainly it shouldn’t be a kind of shut-box and mirror-looking, narcissistic experience. I believe it should be relevant, and relevant to the larger things, the bigger things, such as Hiroshima and Dachau and so on.
I saw the gooseflesh on my skin. I did not know what made it. I was not cold. Had a ghost passed over? No, it was the poetry.
Poetry, I feel, is a tyrannical discipline. You’ve got to go so far so fast in such a small space; you’ve got to burn away all the peripherals.
Kiss me and you will see how important I am.
If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed.
But life is long. And it is the long run that balances the short flare of interest and passion.
I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am. I am. I am.
That is how it stiffens, my vision of that seaside childhood. My father died; we moved inland. Whereon those nine first years of my life sealed themselves off like a ship in a bottle – beautiful, inaccessible, obsolete: a fine, white, flying myth.