Saturday, September 19, 2009

I'm Speechless

The following poem was published in our local newspaper yesterday on the Editorial page. Upon a little research, I learned that the author, Felicia Nimue Ackerman, is a philosophy professor at Brown University, is a monthly contributor to our local paper, and has had 23 letters to the editor published by the New York Times since January 2005 (among other things). I was blown away by this poem (please take the time to read it. You won't be disappointed).

So Lucky to be Here

My daughter keeps telling me
I am so lucky to be here.
She means instead of
in her five-bedroom home,
Which always has space
for another child
But not for a grandmother
in a wheelchair.
I am so lucky to be here.
My room is yellow as the sun,
Which warms my face
When I roll out onto the porch
And endure people
I have nothing in common with
Except age and abandonment.
For so long I dreaded
being shut away from the world.
But I am so lucky to be here,
The best nursing home
in Rhode Island,
Instead of where I would be
if people knew
That what killed my unfaithful husband
Was not an accident.

Felicia Nimue Ackerman

Did your jaw drop open like mine did? Did you immediately go back and read it again? Are you shaking your head in shock, amazement and wonder? I know I was. I love how I thought the poem was about one thing and all along it was about something else entirely. And I love how she basically told an entire complex story in the space of few lines. I simply must read more from this author.


Bethany said...

Oh my gosh! Wow...that's quite a story, you're right. Post anything else you find from her, it would be interesting!

Sandy said...

I saw that this week! I don't always take the time to read the editorial pages but this caught my eye and I was also amazed. I had to go back to see if what I thought I read was realy there!

Pam said...

Wow. I was starting to feel bad for the little old lady then WHAM! Intense.

MissKris said...

As someone who loves to read and write poetry, I loved this one. Poetry is so cryptic in so many ways. Quite often the only one who knows the true meaning is the poet him/herself. This one was a real jaw-dropper, that's for sure, and one that doesn't leave us pondering the point.

Anita said...

I had to read it twice too, or at least the last part......what a shocker!

tori said...

Pam thanks for always sharing the good stuff that you find. I really love to see what you'll come up with next!

FNA said...

As the author of the poem, I think you're a lovely person, Pam! But you omitted the word 'unfaithful' before 'husband.' Please replace it, as it gives the narrator's motive for the murder.

Andrea (ace1028) said...

Wow. Powerful stuff. With or without the word *unfithful* that's pretty amazing! But either way, really cool that the author stopped by, too!

Isk8Jewel (~Julie~) said...

Wow. Need I say more?

Pam said...

Ooops! My sincerest apologies to Ms. Ackerman. I am so embarrassed that I left a word out of this wonderful poem. And such an important word at that. I have been in touch with Ms. Ackerman through email and have apologized to her and have expressed my admiration for her poem and for her kind way of handling this gaffe of mine. She was very gracious and thankfully was not offended. My apologies to all of you as well.

Tammy Howard said...

Chills. Full body chills. Awesome.

Oh - and how cool that you've got a correspondence thing going with the author! (I'm glad I got to read it in it's corrected form. That WAS a pretty important word!)

Thank you so much for sharing this!

Dorkys Ramos said...

Oh snap! Yeah, had to read that one a couple times! What a surprise ending.

Bill and Lorie Shewbridge said...

I can certainly understand the poem and the motive!! It's great.
Thank you Pam for stopping by my blog from SITS.

Anonymous said...

What a poem! Not at all where I thought thought it was leading...SURPRISE! It would be interesting to read more of her work, however I must admit at times I just don't get what a poem is trying to say.


Kathy B! said...

That was awesome. A true jaw dropper.

Ronnica said...

I'm not a poetry lover, but THAT is the kind of poem I can get around. It's like a really short, short story!

Pam said...

Colleen - I totally agree. A lot of poetry goes right over my head. I just don't get it. This one was awesome though. As Ronnica said, it was like a short, short-story. Loved it.

Sue Jackson said...

I've never been much into poetry, but I agree with everything you said about this poem! In turn, it touched me, then made my jaw drop! wow...

The first part of it reminded me very much of a memoir I recently reviewed, In My Heart, written by a woman whose aging parents move in with her and her husband.

Thanks for sharing this!


Oz Girl said...

Wowza! You're right, I had to read it again!

Elizabeth said...

She put so much information and emotion into so few words, really telling a story. At first I was thinking of the daughter as a villain, which she still sort of is, but WOW! at the end. I had to go back and read it again. Definite sign of a thoughtful poem.

BPOTW said...

That certainly was a twist at the end!


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