Stonington, Maine: Early

In her poem “April 9, 2018” poet Sharon Arendshorst uses as an epigraph, the following quote from Annie Dillard…

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

45, along with his sidekicks in Congresses both national and state, chronically — through action, lack of action, unethical and callous practices, words and tweets and disregard — do violence to our right to determine how to spend our days, thus creating our lives.

Interesting word, “spend,” how it suggests a limited amount of figurative currency. It’s a terrible thing to be robbed of something of monetary value. It may be even more evil to break, enter, and steal our time, our hours and minutes that deserve to be contributed to the common good, the personal good, the good of those loved in our worlds.

“Thou shalt not steal,” is most often applied to the robbing of material things. These thieves have stolen and hoarded the expectation that everyone deserves humane housing, healthcare, food, education, and safety, what should belong to all.

And they are stealing what little time we have.

Stonington, Maine: Early

The moon, full and on its
downward turn, seems to lay
the light bright off the harbor.
The fishing boats are leaving–
Cap’n Dolan, Edward Lee,
Jesse III. The snarls of rockweed
wrap the granite juttings. Open
clam shells seem to be gaping
as if taking in the morning.
And you are waking.
Gulls are walking on the low
tide floor. The town is beginning
its day: the bait shop opening, the diner,
the bookstore with the morning paper.
Father Kenney on his walk to Mass,
Marge and Marv turning up the heat
in their gas station/grocery store.

–Jack Ridl


Such good news from historian Anna-Lisa Cox who lives nearby…

Smithsonian Magazine named Anna-Lisa’s The Bone and Sinew of the Land as one of eight books honored as the “Best History Books of 2018.” This year they were looking specifically for books that spoke to events in the nation today. Her book tells the history of the brave African American pioneers in the Midwest, people whose stories have been overlooked for so long. Follow the story:

On April 1 (perfect!)  my new book, St. Peter and the Goldfinch, will be released by Wayne State University Press. Preordering is up at that link, and Julie says stay tuned for news of a PARTY!

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Visit Reader’s World in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

8 thoughts on “Stonington, Maine: Early

    • Kathleen,
      To know that the poems are doing for you what I hope for is sustaining
      and such a joy.
      Thank you soooooooo much for telling me.

  1. Oh, Jack….when I retired in 2001 I used Annie Dillard’s line as my best “excuse” to leave the world of “work”…..I have lived with it in my heart and it becomes more poignant as I near my 80th year….it all disappears so swiftly. Thank you for being in my life in this most meaningful way. And, I’m now reading with joy, All Creation Waits….such a treasured perspective on the Advent season we are in. It makes such loving sense of embracing winter. With loving thoughts…Ginny

    • Ginny,
      You have been a Christmas gift to me ever since we first met.
      That’s a rich and blessed past we have with one another and our families.
      And oh my gosh, what a great good thing, to know that that quote has
      been with you since retiring.
      Also, I shall tell Gayle how much you appreciate her book. Or better yet,
      how about you telling her. I know how much it would mean to her. She’s
      another of my former students who has done wonders with her days. Looking
      back, I can’t fathom how I got to be with such remarkable souls.

  2. Dear Jack,
    Fine lines. A sense of being there, a sense of awareness,a sense of humbleness and a sense of momentary gratitude (in my perception, but maybe not only in mine). Thank you, on a day of watching the world outside coming to a moment of rest.
    Reinhard Paczesny

    • You sent me a poem, Reinhard.
      And it means so much to know that you deeply know what a poem
      is meant to create–exactly what you wrote. You have helped
      sustain what I try to do and my gratitude settles in for
      the gift from you of rest.

  3. Dear Jack,
    what a coincidence. Last night I couldn’t sleep, so I got up at 3 or 4 am reading a book about our strange and unhealthy concept of time and how less and less people seem to able to be aware and enjoy the moment they are in. The author writes also about the many things that steal our time. And here comes your poem. Thank you for calming me down with this comforting peace of art.

    • See? We are truly cosmically connected!
      What you write about what you were reading is, alas,
      so very true. I try not to believe in time, substituting
      for it whatever or whoever I am with. Right now time does
      not exist because I am here with you.

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