For the last several days, I’ve been feverishly attending to the duties of a family law practitioner with an active practice and inadequate assistance. But I’m not complaining: I haven’t fallen; I got a fairly good settlement in a difficult case with uncertain trial potential; and spring has sprung.
The ghost of a poem has been trying to form itself in my mind of late. I’m a terrible poet, especially considering that my greatest aspiration during high school involved The New Yorker and poetry. A would-be lover once browsed through my scribbling and pronounced the pages to be worthy of the trash-bin. Mediocre at best, he said.
I sent him packing and thew his faded flowers out the window after him. They fell four stories and landed in a heap on the sidewalk. I felt a bit sad, seeing the petals scattered all over the concrete. I did not mourn his retreating footsteps.
But he had it right, I admitted years later. Only a handful of the verses which I’ve penned over the years can be considered worthy of a second reading. Three got published, and the smart editor of Eads Bridge set them on the page as one. “Red”, “Green” and “Blue” became stanzas of a flowing imagery, colors of my life. The words never left me. They’ve been rattling around in my brain for decades; and they rattle still.
Say what you will of me. Thirty-nine years ago this month, I wrote one decent triptych of a poem. I’m counting that as success, even if it only got published in a long-defunct “little” in St. Louis, Missouri, and not The New Yorker. I can die satisfied.
It’s the seventeenth day of the fortieth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.
its rage is great
its enthusiasm endless
its beauty renowned
while GREEN is only
the chilled way
and the cool voice
that I use
to send you home.
And what is BLUE
but all that I have in me?
The rain we felt in April
all the flowers that you gave me.
Dresses that I wore to school;
mirrors from which my image shown;
a butterfly trapped briefly, then released;
a child – once real – then gone.
More, much more;
too much to say —
and all in BLUE.
c. C. Corley 1978
To John — or his memory — with love