|My chosen birthday cake: |
Chocolate Babka with streusal topping
At age 62, I have major-sized messes
so beautiful that it doesn't take a mother’s
instinct to see me ... and this is my Birthday poem:
Today in South Africa Nelson Mandela
lives on, a prism spreading more Light
the longer he lingers on his death bed,
a man whose choices turned theories into practice
that transformed prisoners and masters into human
beings as restorative justice re-placed violence
with recognition—This is not magic, it is discipline.
Today, I woke privileged: expecting to find
coffee supplies and cat where I left them, to get
potable water from the kitchen tap, fill bowl
for cat, make coffee, and drink in peace at my own
computer—this too is not magic—it took
discipline to earn it within a country of
opportunity—and I want it for everyone.
At 62, I am no longer teaching
theatre, literature and writing, but learning
to apply lessons to my own living.
I’m no Mandela, but neither am I naïve
about causes and effects of poverty here
and there, about the many rewards for letting
go, relaxing, and forgetting now that I have
achieved my quarter acre of heaven on earth, my
ticket to ignore my country’s complicity—
and I need discipline, since I have no magic.
What I have more than ever is time—time
as past experience, as reflections now, as
future words on paper—a regular Christmas
carol of possibility—that wants only
discipline to bloom. Let me then turn this summer
Birthday into carol, an oral song of folkfestivals year round; let me stay inside the dance.
My 62nd birthday finds me a word spinner, trying to get behind my craft and add to the daily discipline of writing an effort to publish and let it fly out into the world. Within one year, let it be!
Copyright © 2013 S.L.Chast