Monday, August 15, 2005

Nan Cohen

Still sifting through my email box--a note from Nan Cohen that one of her poems would be on A Writer's Almanac sent me to their archives, and there it was! The whole world is but a narrow bridge, as the Rebbe used to say...

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Poem: "Girder" by Nan Cohen, from Rope Bridge. © Cherry Grove Collection. Reprinted with permission.


The simplest of bridges, a promise
that you will go forward,

that you can come back.
So you cross over.

It says you can come back.
So you go forward.

But even if you come back
then you must go forward.

I am always either going back
or coming forward. There is always

something I have to carry,
something I leave behind.

I am a figure in a logic problem,
standing on one shore

with the things I cannot leave,
looking across at what I cannot have.

(Nan's an old friend from UCLA days. Hurrah! But when do I get to hear you read it?)

Here's another by Nan, gleaned from the website:

A Newborn Girl at Passover

Consider one apricot in a basket of them.
It is very much like all the other apricots--
an individual already, skin and seed.

Now think of this day. One you will probably forget.
The next breath you take, a long drink of air.
Holiday or not, it doesn't matter.

A child is born and doesn't know what day it is.
The particular joy in my heart she cannot imagine.
The taste of apricots is in store for her.

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