Liz Waldner (2008)
In the beginning
there was a meanness and it spread.
Perhaps I absorbed it, so that whatever I saw
was filtered through the meanness.
I don’t mean “stingy,” stinginess,
as do British novelists, by the way.
Although a lacking generosity—
the ability to will that there be
someone Other than Oneself was certainly
a kind of cause.
In the beginning, then,
it was willed that I not be.
This shamed me, however good
an act I learned to put on.
And now it is fifty years later.
I have a profound interest in freedom, I notice,
and an urgent sense of little time.
Little time. Near Little Gidding.
I ween ken reckon have on
the British women novelists I have loved.
I have to mean their novels, of course.
“Queen of the Tambourine.” “The Vacillations of Poppy Carew.”
“Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.”
Behold, how the outcast makes good.
“Time” is a word. “Love” is a word.
Between them are words and between them
an entrance. I pray to be
entranced, starting right now again I do.
I am old enough to understand
to go on is a great gift.