Saturday, September 11, 2010

This Sadness, by Susan Goyette

Pyotr Iliych Tchaikovsky - Pezzo Capriccioso
with Mstislav Rostropovich

I taught myself to live simply and wisely,
to look at the sky and pray to God,
and to wander long before evening
and tire my useless sadness.
                                        - Anna Akhmatova
If I could change this sadness,
learn the touch of a potter,
I'd coax it into a thing of beauty,
something serviceable.

I imagine throwing it, wrapped in burlap,
into the harbour. Some unwanted cat
that will haunt me, one of its lives
as my grandmother, with fingers like pine roots
dropping dead needles into my eyes,
in another as my father with his hair on fire
and his steel-wool tongue.

But it's an alluring sadness
that calls with the wordless song of a child
and fills these nights with all the names
I can give to it.

from The True Names of Birds (Brick Books, 2000)