Monthly Archives: March 2019

A Manual for Cleaning Women

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I am always writing down book titles that people recommend, but by the time I get them I tend to forget who recommended it. But whoever steered me to A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin, many thanks! A fantastic collection of short stories, simple writing with descriptions of relationships and ordinary people met on the street or at the laundromat. A unique voice but reminding me of Grace Paley in the way she almost offhandedly reaches in and touches your heart. A Manual for Cleaning Women

The Secret

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Gay Head Lighthouse, Martha’s Vineyard

A poem by Denise Levertov whom I had the privilege to study with in college. It came like a reply to my last blog post. (and were the two girls in that class at Vassar?)

The Secret
Two girls discover
the secret of life
in a sudden line of
poetry.
I who don’t know the
secret wrote
the line. They
told me
(through a third person)
they had found it
but not what it was
not even
what line it was.  No doubt
by now, more than a week
later, they have forgotten
the secret,
the line, the name of
the poem.  I love them
for finding what
I can’t find,
and for loving me
for the line I wrote,
and for forgetting it
so that
a thousand times, till death
finds them, they may
discover it again, in other
lines
in other
happenings.  And for
wanting to know it,
for
assuming there is
such a secret, yes,
for that
most of all.
~ Denise Levertov ~
(Selected Poems)