I was just flipping through The Collected Poems of Robert Penn Warren. It's over 600 pages of many dense, long, thorough poems. This poet must have thought of nothing else all day long for his entire life but poetry and words and images and how to put it all together. I have a postcard of him somewhere, O! Here it is in the book of poetry! Yes, I remember this. He's 66 years old in the photo, sitting before a window in a room in Vermont with his spaniel, Frodo. His eyes are so distant and gazing-through that he looks like a blind man. But his mouth is fine and amused.
Here come the water people, entering back to the compound. We have not had water for ten days and finally----this is really a miracle---I got the water department to come to the house. They're futzing around knocking on neighbor's gates asking questions and doing investigations. Two plumbers have come in the past week doing the same. There are no answers. The water people will come to me with no answers as well. That's just the way it is sometimes; seven years living in East Africa and I've begun to accept that.
Ninety percent of the thoughts you have today are the same thoughts (worries, concerns, dreams, desires) you had yesterday. Tomorrow you will have 90 percent of the same thoughts that you had today. Lately, I have 99.8 percent of the same thoughts every day: thoughts of leaving----how sad it is, how scary, how I will ever pack, how I will ever sell the humidifier, how will I ever leave this garden and these friends and this life... And all these thoughts are so boring---the ruts of my brain are absolutely smooth and lifeless and un-energized and I'm bored even of myself with these thoughts---that I have nothing to write for a blog piece.
Maybe I will become a poet and write 600 pages of poetry and stop thinking these moving thoughts (and the other .2 percent of my thoughts which are about water, and when it will return, and why it went away, and what the world will be like in 30 years when there's no more water and we'll all live this way?). I will stop thinking these boring, worn out, un-answerable thoughts and think of something brand new, with texture, that's startling----something not thought-about yesterday.
Like the slug's white belly; wind-tortured stone white in darkness; sheep huddling, their eyes staring into nothingness...
I watched the sheep huddling. Their eyes
Were stupid and round like the eyes of fat fish in muddy water,
Or of a scholar who has lost faith in his calling.
Their jaws did not move. Shreds
Of dry grass, gray in gray mist-light, hung
From the side of a jaw, unmoving.
You would think that nothing would ever again happen.
That is a way to love God.
(Last lines from the poem A Way to Love God by Robert Penn Warren. The painting is Jamie Wyeth, Winter Pig.)