The Awakening

For the Midweek Motif at Poets United:  Awakening

The Awakening

*”S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse A persona che mai tornasse al mondo, Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.  Ma penciocche gammai di questo fondo Non torno viva alcun, s’i’odo il vero, Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo”   “If I thought that my reply were given to anyone who might return to the world, this flame would stand forever still; but since never from this deep place has anyone returned alive, if what I hear is true, without fear of infamy I answer thee.”  Translation from the Italian in Dante’s Inferno

**Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table….” Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, T.S.Eliot

I was eleven. I was bored.
I wandered into the kitchen and whined.
My grandmother was busy making strawberry jam.
I whined until she said,
take this spoon and keep stirring.
She left and went to our library and returned
10 minutes later.
Here. Read this. This will keep you amused for a few days.
She handed me a battered book.
I took the book and went up on the sleeping porch
and to the wuftwuftwuft of the overhead fans,
I began to read.
I read the whole collection of poems
over the next couple of days.
My mind was blown.
“Till human voices wake us, and we drown.”
I was awakened.

*Epigraph to Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
**Beginning of Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock




14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Eileen T O'Neill
    Nov 20, 2019 @ 12:35:18

    A most beautiful early introduction to the joys of poetry. A true moment of awakening…


  2. hhennenburg
    Nov 20, 2019 @ 12:50:56

    A wonderful poem and story. I love the little details, each one relevant however small. So many good things happen on sleeping porches.


  3. Ron.
    Nov 20, 2019 @ 13:22:59

    Oh, this is DELICIOUS!!
    For me, that encounter came when a student teacher accidently dropped two books out of his backpack onto my (highschool) desk: HOWL (Allen Ginsberg) and A Coney Island of the Mind (Ferlinghetti)
    I was born.


  4. Sherry Marr
    Nov 20, 2019 @ 13:31:30

    What a wonderful poetic awakening!!!!!! Your grandmother handed you a lifelong gift. Did she live long enough to know you as a poet?


    • kanzensakura
      Nov 20, 2019 @ 13:35:29

      No. She died of bone cancer when I was in university. I miss her sweet presence. The complete works of T.S.Eliot lives permanently on my night stand however marked with her ex libris.


  5. susanstoo
    Nov 20, 2019 @ 16:23:55

    Wisdom left the strawberry spoon to get a book; wisdom left you alone with it so it could work on you. Oh, she must have known the narrator was changed soon after! I enjoy how you end the poem. I often feel drowned wakened from an ecstasy.


    • kanzensakura
      Nov 20, 2019 @ 16:45:41

      The book has permanent residence on my night stand. It has my grandmother’s ex libris sticker in it from decades ago. The poetry angels def smiled at me that day. About a month later I was introd to haiku by the Asian studies prof next door.

      Get Outlook for Android



  6. Sumana Roy
    Nov 21, 2019 @ 02:32:17

    Introduction to Eliot at such a tender age is a boon. Wow! A beautiful poem Toni.


  7. vandana
    Nov 21, 2019 @ 08:26:43

    poetry is the best medicine!


  8. sanaarizvi
    Nov 21, 2019 @ 11:33:50

    This is such a heartening write, Toni! To awaken at such a young age is nothing short of a boon ❤️


  9. magicalmysticalteacher
    Nov 26, 2019 @ 22:41:41

    A whole new world: poetry!


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