colby caldwell

Mary Ellen Lough - Day One

colby caldwell
Mary Ellen Lough - Day One
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One Sunday a month, I teach a poetry class at my farmhouse. Yesterday, a woman who has been coming to the class for a year shared that on her morning run, she came across a deer carcass in the middle of the path by the river. The wild dogs had done their work, and what remained was only the spine and rib cage open to sky – raw bowl of the center of the body. The marrow, she said, was still shining and pink inside the bones.

Thoreau went to Walden to “live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.” “I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear;  nor did I wish to practice resignation.” (1908)[1]

But my friend, in a less extractionary way, said of her experience, “I am the marrow.”  She speaks from a place in life where she is conversing with endings, what has fallen away, the shining pink marrow that still remains.

Robert Bly wrote, “We have not come to remain whole. / We came to lose our leaves like the trees, / The trees that are broken / And start again, drawing up from the great roots.” (1987)[2]

It is New Year’s Eve. Without a doubt, the last year has had its endings. It has also, perhaps, had tremors of beginnings. I hope that you, “dancing, find in the trees a saviour, / A home in the dark grass, / And nourishment in death.” (1987) That somewhere in your body, there is also a shining pink marrow, some great taproot thickening and deepening perhaps over centuries, where life has been gathering. “It is still there and always there with its quiet song and strange power / to spring in us, / up and out through the rock.” (Denise Levertov, “The Fountain”)[3]

 


[1] Thoreau, Henry D., 1908, Walden, Or, Life in the Woods, London: J.M. Dent

[2] Bly, Robert, 1987, A Home in Dark Grass

[3] Levertov, Denise, 1983, “The Fountain,” In Poems from 1960-1967, New Directions; First Edition