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I Have a New Love

January 16, 2014 Leave a comment

I have a new love, not surprising because I actually love love. I enjoy a good love story. Poetry about love makes my heart race. Poetry about other subjects draws me to the rhythm and pictures created through words—and I love that too. My newest discovery is a podcast app, The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor.

Each day, Mr. Garrison Keillor’s honey-coated voice soothes my mind with information about what happened on that day in history. He shares biographical information about writers, poets and other noteworthy folk. He tells me of their experiences, from becoming writers in the later years of their lives to those who died in relative poverty. They make as interesting reading as the fortunate artists who led long, lucrative writing careers.

Each podcast lasts for five minutes and ends with a poem, some by poets with whom I am familiar and others whom I have the opportunity to meet for the first time. Mr. Keillor breathes life into each poem he reads and I listen with earnest attention. He made the tale of a towel sound mesmerizing:

Towels
by Samuel Hazo

What purpose have they but to rub
skin dry by being drawn behind
the back two-handed down
the showered spine or fluffed
between the thighs and elsewhere?
Yardgoods lack what towels
proffer in sheer, plump tuft.
Wadded after use and flung
in hampers to be washed, they clump
like the tired laundry of men
who sweat for a living.

Spun dry
or spreadeagled to the sun,
they teach us what renewal means.
Touch them when they’re stacked or racked,
and what you’re touching is abundance
in waiting.

Imprinted with the names
of Hilton or the Ritz, they daub
with equal deft the brows
of bandits or the breasts of queens.
What else did Pilate reach for
when he washed his hands of Christ
before the multitudes?

Even
when retired to the afterlife of rags,
they still can buff the grills
of Chryslers, Fallingwater’s windows
or important shoes.

However
small, it seems they have
their part to play.

But then,
en route from use to uselessness,
it’s no small asset ever
to be always good at something.

How comforting to know that, like towels, however small, we each have our part to play.

In Garrison Keillor fashion, I bid you adieu, “be well, do good work and keep in touch”.

____
“Towels” by Samuel Hazo from The Song of the Horse. ©Autumn House Press, 2008.