Her Bed

Jack will livestream today’s poem at 9am, ET,  on his Facebook Page here, where the video will will be saved for later viewing. You can find all of his Livestream videos here. 

On May 1, at 8pm ET Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer and Jack will give a ZOOM reading. “It’s About Time to Have a Good Time.”  To secure a spot go to:  https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_k18i5NPSwCWobh2QFL5UQ

Well, It’s the last day of National Poetry Month. I dream of the day when we no longer need a National Poetry Month!!

This post will be one mass of tangents.

First, why don’t I play golf? There went my neighbor this morning for a nice long walk amid the coming green of everything. I was tempted to grab a leaf bag, put a few brooms in it, pay whatever outrageous price it takes to at last get out into the great outdoors and take a nice long green walk.

Do you know it’s been seven weeks? It’s strangely interesting how mixed up my feelings are. Are yours? My dear friend, poet Mary Ruefle, has said, “I’m all mixed up. I don’t mean by that confused. I mean blenderized.

Do you feel that way? I sure do: worried, sad, able to laugh, compassionate, heartbroken, angry, grieving and, and, and — blenderized.

And what are we supposed to do about our hair?

25 years ago my father passed away. Am I okay mourning his loss amid all this horror? He loved ice cream, usually savored a quarter of a gallon each evening. I’m gonna do that tonight. He was my age when he passed. Maybe I better take in a half gallon.

Gotta get this off what’s left of my chest…  If your candidate didn’t win the primary for president, don’t go selfishly putting your principles — be they aligned with the Green Party for the preservation of toad lilies — ahead of your fellow citizens who also care about the environment, the homeless, the hungry, those without health care. It’s time to vote together against lying, deceiving, cheating, and on behalf of those who need help.

Your only moral choice is to help everyone vote 45 out onto the street.

Wow, I really got going there. Whew.

And now back to caring for that person you know who is grieving his or her way through this lockdown and pandemic. This poem tries to understand—

Her Bed

During the worst of the storm, lightning
glazed the night’s same sky, thunder loud
enough to keep her from hearing her sigh

as she tried again to stop imagining. Her cat
leaped onto the bed, crossed over the pillows
on the left side, then jumped back down onto

the uncarpeted oak floor over which on
moving day there had been rose-colored
tile, then dashed back to his sleep spot

in the clothes closet under the trousers
dangling to a half inch from the floor.
The crocuses were up and opening,

some yellow. almost gold. some reverently
purple. But a frost could lean them into
the mulch. The pandemic was over. But

a pandemic, as Cuomo said, may never
be dead. Another slash of lightning
split her window pane. She had spent

her day listening to her complete collection
of Dvořák. It, of course, took all day. She
had decided to read the background of each

piece. She paused once to call her sister,
but all she could think to say was “I am so glad
I know hardly a thing about music.” Her

sister asked how she was so she said
that she’d had two burritos for a late lunch.
“Funny: Burritos and Dvořák. I want to listen

to some more now. Bye.” It kept raining. It kept
thundering. All afternoon. Into the evening. Her
cat finally came out, went to his bowl for dinner.

She listened on as the sun set, then the cat again
leaped onto the bed. She smiled, remembering
how hard a time she’d had learning to ride a bicycle.

–Jack Ridl

This poem has been invited to be included in a project to raise money to fight the coronavirus. More news about that coming soon.

Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Speaking of Great Bookstores, big thanks to The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague for hosting Tuesday’s reading, celebrating St. Peter and the Goldfinch.

Innisfree Journal edited by Greg McBride twice each year features a poet felt to be overlooked. This issue features work from each of Jack’s books and his contributions to poetry through his teaching.

Don’t miss subscribing to this podcast.  And Then Suddenly is the brainchild of the kind and brilliant Angela Santillo, whose path I’ve crossed once before while working with CavanKerry Press. Her podcast has a brilliant premise…  Describe a moment in your life that changed… everything. She’s had that moment, and from it she has made this podcast. Here’s the conversation we had recently.  I hope you explore many of the episodes. Because they will change you. In a good way.

Jack’s Homily, “The Devil Went Down to Douglas” is here for those of you interested in marking the occasion.

There will be an outstanding Writers Conference held at The Grace A. Dow Library in the Dow Gardens in Midland on July 21 and 22. Each date has a 1-4 afternoon workshop and a reading in the evening along with a Q & A. July 21 features Desiree Cooper and John Mauk. July 22 features Anne-Marie Oomen and me. The workshops are capped at 20 people.

See all of Jack’s Facebook Livestream Videos Here.

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.

Jack on And Then Suddenly podcast by Angela Santillo.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection

10 thoughts on “Her Bed

  1. Mark Twain said “Golf is a good walk, wasted.” Or something like that. Go take that walk sans leaf blower, sans rakes, sans hoes. Breathe in, breathe out. Think of dad.

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    • Ahhh, our dear Katie. Of course you would know of a wonderful concert! Thank youuuuu!

      We have music going all the time. You, of course, put it so well: the sustenance of our time.

      Our love to you. How can I ever forget the amazing gift of you and Liz at the book launch.

  2. Thanks Jack – that was a great poem. My flitting brain transfers from my Outdoors cat (he hates the indoors, but will let me catch him and hold him when we put his tic medicine on) to the daffodils bent over by the rain, to the people I once knew on a sabbatical long ago in South Africa and how they had made me safe and welcome in a new place. Wondering if I can find them now, if they’re still alive, and thank them. It’s pandemic thinking.

    Break a leg tomorrow. Peace and love dear friend – Jane

    • Oh so good to see you at least virtually.. It’s so sad to be unable to see one another. Seven weeks now and more on the way.

      I am ever grateful for your response to the poem. Whew, that pulled every bit of sorrow out of me and onto the page.

      Oh how I hope you somehow find the people you came to be part of in South Africa.

      Now, go say good morning to that wonder of an outdoor cat!!!!
      Elbow hugs

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