Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers
on Monday mornings. This is an Open Thread forum,
so if you have an off-topic opinion burning a hole in
your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.
Which are the magic moments
in ordinary time?
All of them,
for those who can see.
– Tim Dlugos, ‘Ordinary Time’
Though it already seems far in the past, the actual last time we left our home was March 3, to vote on Super Tuesday. We were gone a little over an hour. My husband’s doctors had already advised him to stay-at-home and avoid crowds, but our polling place seldom had crowds at 9:30 in the morning, after most of our neighbors had gone to work.
Our concept of “crowds” has changed radically since then.
I chose these three poems because the first one captures something of the surrealism of my passing thoughts and dreams at night – the second poem eerily connects with our government’s daily malfeasance and perfidy, which encourages the spite and carelessness of the ‘deplorables’ – and for the finalé, a poem looking ahead to after this too has passed.
I felt a Funeral, in my Brain (340)
by Emily Dickinson
I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading – treading – till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through –
And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum –
Kept beating – beating – till I thought
My mind was going numb –
And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul
With those same Boots of Lead, again,
Then Space – began to toll,
As all the Heavens were a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some strange Race,
Wrecked, solitary, here –
And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down –
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing – then –
The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Variorum Edition – Harvard University Press (1983)
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) America’s best-known woman poet and one of the nation’s greatest and most original authors, lived the life of a recluse in Amherst Massachusetts. She wrote nearly 1800 poems, ignoring the traditional poetic forms prevailing among most of the other poets of her day. The extent of her work wasn’t known until after her death, when her younger sister Lavinia discovered her huge cache of poems
by Mary Latter
Now calumnies arise, and black Reproach
Triumphant croaks aloud, and joyful claps
Her raven wing! Insinuations vile
And slanderous spring from pestilential breath,
And tongues thrice dipped in hell. Contagion foul
Steams from th’ infernal furnace, hot and fierce,
And spreads th’ infectious influence o’er his fame!
Then each unworthy, ignominious fool,
Each female basilisk with forky sting,
And outward-seeming, heart-unmeaning tear
(Offspring most loathsome of Hypocrisy,
The vile, detested, double-damning sin:
Confusion and perdition overwhelm
And blast them, execrable, into ruin!),
Chin-deep in malice shoot their bitter darts
Of mockery and derision: adding, sly,
Th’ invidious wink, the mean, contemptuous leer,
And flouting grin, ‘emphatically scornful’.
Nor less th’ insidious knave, supremely dull!
Mixture of monkey, crocodile and mole,
Yet stupid as the ostrich, ass and owl;
In high redundance of Typhonic rage,
With harsh stentorian tone, disdainful, flings
Unmerited reflections, vehement, long,
Nonsensical and noisy. Vain, he struts
With domineering insolence replete,
And, lordly, tramples on distress in anguish.
“Soliloquy XVI” from The Miscellaneous Works, in Prose and Verse, of Mrs. Mary Latter – Gale Ecco (2018 edition)
Mary Latter (1725-1777) 18th century English poet, essayist and playwright, who lived much of her life in Reading, a large market town in South East England. In 1759, she published, by subscription, The Miscellaneous Works, in Prose and Verse, of Mrs. Mary Latter. In the appendix, she is described as resident “not very far from the market-place, immersed in business and in debt; sometimes madly hoping to gain a competency; sometimes justly fearing dungeons and distress.”
When This is Over
by Laura Kelly Fanucci
When this is over, may we never again take for granted
A handshake with a stranger
Full shelves at the store
Conversations with neighbors
A crowded theater
Friday night out
The taste of communion
A routine checkup
The school rush each morning
Coffee with a friend
The stadium roaring
Each deep breath
A boring Tuesday
When this ends
may we find
that we have become
more like the people
we wanted to be
we were called to be
we hoped to be
and may we stay
that way — better
for each other
because of the worst.
In the days since “When This is Over” was first posted by the author, it’s been shared over 85,000 times on Facebook, and 50,000 times on Instagram.
Laura Kelly Fanucci lives in Minnesota. She is Program Director of the Communities of Calling Initiative, and writes a syndicated column, Faith at Home, published in Catholic newspapers nationwide. She has also written six books. She says, “The words came to me in the middle of the night. Our youngest child is only 3 weeks old so I’m up with him at all hours. Everything feels darker and more frightening at night, so I started wondering what small good I could offer to people as a writer. Since then, it took on a life of its own. I’ve simply been sitting back and watching. Hoping it offers people some hope and comfort in such an anxious time.”