“Do you remember our first / January at Eagle Pond, / the coldest in a century? / It dropped to thirty-eight below— / with no furnace, no storm / windows or insulation. / We sat reading or writing / in our two big chairs, either / side of the Glenwood, / and made love on the floor / with the stove open and roaring. / You were twenty-eight. / If someone had told us then / you would die in nineteen years, / would it have sounded / like almost enough time?”
* Jeremy Allan Hawkins *
This is Strasbourg cathedral’s 1000th year, the first stone in its foundation having been laid in September of 1015 CE, and as the city begins a year of celebrations, it seems appropriate to meditate. Its lengthy tenure has seen world shaking events come and go. The cathedral survived two world wars and even some of the ordinance exploded during them. It survived the French revolution and it survived the Protestant reformation, which in another universe might have scoured its façade of all ornament. These events, and so many more, have swept past like the river sweeps past the city center and its vestiges of long-departed industry. The longevity of the cathedral, with all it has outlasted, feels almost eternal.
* Ann Marie Thornburg *
Reading Mourning Diary, I had the strange experience of feeling transported, through Barthes’s language, back across contours of my own mourning. I found myself unable to remember what it felt like be a few pages back, and I simply could not anticipate where I would be in several more. As Michael Wood notes in his review, “what is most striking in the end about this (hypothesis of a) book is its writtentracking of states of mind that writing itself can’t enter, only register.”
1. Between Grief and Sorrow
Grief staggers around the house
some thief has emptied.
It wants to tell you everything
all over again; blame is the story
grief hammers, hammering until your leg shakes,
your right foot won’t stop tapping.
It’s a dance for the shaken,
strung out with waiting, and now look
who’s back to guard the door: