14 February 2011

Love and Longing

The Grammy's are playing in the background. I love music. I wish I were a musician. Specifically, I wish I could play the cello like Yo Yo Ma, and the drums like Dave Grohl, back when he was in Nirvana.

I also wish I was a poet. When I was young, I wrote reams of overly dramatic poetry, bleak in its consideration of all topics. I wrote a few poems this past year, usually when I wanted to be creative in a very structured way. But they were penned with no knowledge of the craft. I want to learn more about the rules of poetry, because I find it enigmatic, but enticing. I think I just described most of my college boyfriends.

Songs are the poems of my everyday life. I am always astounded by how so few words, phrased so compactly, can have such impact. As a writer, a beautiful lyric both inspires and depresses me. I want to compose my images with the same brevity of language and clarity of vision. I long to forge that connection between the words and the reader.

Speaking of longing....

Today is Valentine's Day. It's a manufactured holiday, but I like to use it to remind my children about the importance of love, in all its permutations: parental love, brotherly love, self love, neighborly love, date love, creature love, earth love. I don't know if love is all you need (food and shelter seem fairly important), but I think love can make the world go 'round much more smoothly. I have given up on my dream of playing drums, but I haven't given up on love.

Each day this week I'm going to share a lyric I find particularly luminous, as a mini-poem in the margin. And I'm going to include a poem that reminds me of the amazing, transformative, heartbreaking, life-affirming, messy, miraculous power of love. And words.

Bar Napkin Sonnet #11

by Moira Egan

Things happen when you drink too much mescal.
One night, with not enough food in my belly,
he kept on buying.   I’m a girl who’ll fall
damn near in love with gratitude and, well, he
was hot and generous and so the least
that I could do was let him kiss me, hard
and soft and any way you want it, beast
and beauty, lime and salt—sweet Bacchus’ pards—
and when his friend showed up I felt so warm
and generous I let him kiss me too.
His buddy asked me if it was the worm
inside that makes me do the things I do.
I wasn’t sure which worm he meant, the one
I ate?   The one that eats at me alone?

(Megan's disclaimer: I don't intend for the poems to convey the details of my epic love affair with the Captain. They just might, anyway.)


  1. Anonymous14.2.11

    Oh I too wish for musical talents! And brevity. Both would be most welcome.... sigh.... not too freakin' likely.
    Love the lyrics and the poems. (Wow, you are just all kinds of class ain'tcha?!)
    p.s. I read Dan your "how I failed Five" everyday. I'm really enjoying your writing so much Megan.

  2. What Julie said. You are such an elegant and alert writer /doffs imaginary hat in awe/.

    Happy Valentine's Day. Today I always read my class the Edna St. Vincent Millay poem about "love is not meat or drink"...it kills. And they get it, loving someone so much they wouldn't give them up for bread.

  3. Happy Valentine's Day Megan :) Love you!

  4. Lovely. I have a song lyric post for tomorrow as well, but it's not nearly as pretty. You're writing is beautiful.

  5. @Julie: "How I Failed Five" is a fave for most of the family, especially my brother, who has a "challenging" child (in our house, that's called "a boy.") Five is an endless font of inspiration, for writing, and personal betterment. I forgive him his "glass half-empty" attitude, because I know it springs from the "Nervous Nelly" end of our gene pool. And it forces me to put all this blather about unconditional love into play, as I just keep throwing more and more at him. I hope it sticks.

  6. @lora: How wonderful that you let them hear poetry. I think it makes even more of a connection when the words are read out loud. However, I wrote my husband a poem for our anniversary, and he asked me to read it to him. That's when I developed a greater appreciation for voice actors. It was a bit like making love: I'm better at it in my imagination.

  7. @Delia: I'm looking forward to your song lyric! I obsessively listen to only one artist at a time(ask my children), so I can barely remember what I heard three months ago. I'm going to have to dig through my CD's to come up with anything other than Mumford & Sons!

  8. @Chrysanthe: I love you too!

    In fact, I love all of you for the kind words. Not that my love for you is predicated upon slavish devotion. But it helps.

  9. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

    Megan, I've been wondering if you are archiving the How I Failed Five comments. I don't want to add extra work to your already busy blogging life, but it would be fun to be able to go back and read the list of Five's grievances over time.

  10. @Janet: this is an issue, that I've been ignoring. Apparently, whenever I add a new Five Failure, because this is a gadget, it changes for all the posts from day one. This means they are not archived, and furthermore, all my song lyrics are the same. So, if anyone goes back and reads the old posts, they will not necessarily reflect my inspired choices at the time. This is a bummer. I'll have to solve it, but I like the way it looks over there. I suppose I could add it at the end of every post. Thoughts?


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