Sunday, February 21, 2016

Poetry Sunday

I've often thought about the moments on which my life turned ... when a decision I made or an action I took or didn't take changed the course of my life and all the things that flowed from that moment in time. For example, on a February evening in 1982, I had been invited to a party being thrown by one of my newly-married friends. I'd made up my mind not to go, but changed my mind at the last minute because I found out that a young lady in whom I was interested was going to be there. I went to the party ... and the girl I'd gone to see didn't show up.  But another lady did ... and Agnes and I were married seven months later.

This poem by Mark Strand considers one of those moments on which a life might turn, and on the might-have-beens that follow from it ...

by Mark Strand

A white room and a party going on
and I was standing with some friends
under a large gilt-framed mirror
that tilted slightly forward
over the fireplace.
We were drinking whiskey
and some of us, feeling no pain,
were trying to decide
what precise shade of yellow
the setting sun turned our drinks.
I closed my eyes briefly,
then looked up into the mirror:
a woman in a green dress leaned
against the far wall.
She seemed distracted,
the fingers of one hand
fidgeted with her necklace,
and she was staring into the mirror,
not at me, but past me, into a space
that might be filled by someone
yet to arrive, who at that moment
could be starting the journey
which would lead eventually to her.
Then, suddenly, my friends
said it was time to move on.
This was years ago,
and though I have forgotten
where we went and who we all were,
I still recall that moment of looking up
and seeing the woman stare past me
into a place I could only imagine,
and each time it is with a pang,
as if just then I were stepping
from the depths of the mirror
into that white room, breathless and eager,
only to discover too late
that she is not there.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



Mike said...

" But another lady did..."

And a different path was taken.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

So sad a theme and ending! I hope he found someone special later on.