Bells is one of my oldest, closest blog-friends. I believe the first post of hers that I read contained photos of lovely growing things in her Australian garden, just as we were entering winter here in the Northern Hemisphere. I was hooked. Her photos have continued to delight, and she knits and sews and writes beautifully, too. I'm so glad she agreed to share a favorite poem here this month.
Judith Wright is a beloved Australian poet. She was a thinker and an activist - most notably for the environment and for Indigenous people. She began to go deaf as a young woman and was completely deaf by 1992. The last years of her life were spent living in the small town, Braidwood, just outside Canberra, where I live. She died in 2000.
I chose this poem a couple of weeks ago for Amy, but I realised as I re-read it that it tied in nicely with the the Mary Oliver poem that she posted a few days ago, highlighting the line, "Tell me, what it is you plan to do/with your one wild and precious life?"
In the autumn of their lives, these sisters are looking back on their own wild and precious lives and treasuring the richness of what is behind them.
by Judith Wright
In the vine-shadows on the veranda;
under the yellow leaves, in the cooling sun,
sit two sisters. Their slow voices run
like little winter creeks, dwindled by frost and wind,
and the square of sunlight moves on the veranda.
They remember the gay young men on their tall horses
who came courting; the dancing and the smells of leather
and wine, the girls whispering by the fire together;
even their dolls and ponies, all they have left behind
moves in the yellow shadows on the veranda.
Thinking of their lives apart and the men they married
thinking of the marriage-bed and the birth of their first
they look down smiling. “My life was wide and wild,
and who can know my heart? There in that golden jungle
I walk alone,” say the old sisters on the veranda.