I wanted him to live to be one hundred even though his readings had stopped years ago. Who am I to judge how long a man should live? Or how his living, his writing, his teaching helped my life. I was just a woman in his workshop at Centrum learning as much as I could.
He would take his class on writing walks. One day on a beach hike, we stood together and watched a fish die in the sand. Another day, we sat with an old stump that had once held up something magnificent. We translated Francis Ponge, “the poet of things”, and looked deeply into an orange.
seasons come and go
left alone to find my way
sad hearing the rain
dVerse prompt to write a haibun on something or someone to be thankful for
“What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this stony rubbish?”
(Richard always asked questions. Even when he was giving an answer, he would speak the answer in the form of a question. Sometimes that made life miserable and misunderstood. Other times it brought clarity and enlightenment.)
“Was it rhubarb?”
dVerse prompt using the line from The Wasteland by T S Eliot
The oyster knife fit perfectly in her hand, its old wooden handle smooth and darkened with a century of use; how it pried open the barnacled shell (shell after shell) until there was a pile resting at her feet and the soft flesh of the oysters filled a bowl, their delicate lace edges curling outward away from the green sack of their being. She slipped one into her mouth— oysters on the half shell always her favorite. Always a top shell and a bottom shell. Never a pearl. Someday, she said to herself— someday she will find a pearl, but until then she promised herself, she would keep on eating oysters.
When the blade goes dull, I will think of Zora Neale Hurston who wrote
“No, I do not weep at the world — I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.”
Sharpen your knife.
dVerse prompt to write prosey using the words of Zora Neale Hurston from 1928 in World Tomorrow —How It Feels to be Colored Me.
Also using Ursula K. Le Guin’s Steering the Craft Exercise 3, using long and short sentences.
Real old oyster knife pictured found at a thrift shop San Juan Island.