Friday, January 25, 2008

Mary, Revisited

Thanks to another Mary for reminding me about a beautiful poem about the name we share.

There's a nice story about how that poem came to me. In 2006, a friend of a friend, Gregory Watson, asked me to write the back jacket commentary for his new book of poetry, Things You Will Never See Again. After recovering from the request itself (which implied either that no other writer in Minneapolis and St. Paul was alive and available or that my words, in particular, mattered), I read the manuscript and fell in love.

I am sooo loose that way! Such a poetry sucker. Here's what I wrote for the book's jacket:

"Greg Watson is the rare treat: a poet who brings us to both grief and exaltation in a single line. His work is a map of human life: brief yet timeless. His perfect, perfect words will lodge in your soul and psyche--and you will be temporally, eternally grateful for their beauty and wisdom."

Not a bad plug! And I really felt that way.

Greg knew that I understood his work combined the Buddhist emphasis on life's fleeting nature with the endurance of humanity itself, with our collective impulse to be something larger than one's self. He felt it rare--precious--to find in me a perfect reader. Every writer wants at least one person to understand him or her entirely, he said. And I did.

He sent me this poem, as thanks:


If I had to choose
just one name
to give a girl child,
it would be Mary,
placing her at
the center of all sorrow
which is to say
where all hope waits.

-- Albert Huffstickler

Thank you, Greg! I love it.


Anonymous said...

So lovely. And now I have two new poets to look up.

Anonymous said...

That is a gorgeous thought. I love a poem just like that.