It’s been an unusual week around here. I started substitute teaching on Thursday, and for the first time since my daughter was born, I dashed out the door unaccompanied and drove to work in the quiet car listening to NPR morning news. The work days were great, and by each day’s end I had a feeling akin to thirst for my child. To hold her and swing her in the air and drink in her laughter. The change in routine has recalibrated my energy level and sense of gratitude, and not just in a blanket I’m-so-thankful kind of way, but in very specific ways that only actual experience can impart.
In other small but significant happenings, today I graduated from writing at the dining table to writing at an actual desk. This has been nagging at me for a while, less the desk and more the space, in particular the wall. I realized I need more than my Excel spreadsheets. I need a place to stick post-its with deadlines, ideas, and pitches. I need to hang up my Dear Sugar poster and May Sarton’s “Now I Become Myself.” I need to spread out, claim a space of my own, give the work room to grow.
Now I Become Myself
Now I become myself. It’s taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people’s faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
“Hurry, you will be dead before–”
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
So all the poem is, can give,
Grows in me to become the song,
Made so and rooted by love.
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!