Welcome to the blog website of Anne Heffron: writer, mother, adoptee.

Day 55 - One Way to Relax After Attending a Life-Changing Conference

Day 55 - One Way to Relax After Attending a Life-Changing Conference

Do you like poetry? I think generally it is taught badly in school because the teachers are afraid of it, and poetry becomes this other thing, this tricky language business that is there to make us feel left out or stupid.

The thing about poetry is that it's okay to read it just to experience how the words make you feel. You don't have to analyze anything. Just listen and feel.

Sometimes, when I need to remember just how much language can move me, I turn to certain poems to bring me to the heart of myself. Brigit Pegeen Kelly’s Three Cows and the Moon is one of my favorites, but you need to get her book Song to read it. The poem is very long. I heard her read it years and years ago at the University of Oregon and I have never cried so hard at a reading. I’m still not exactly sure why that poem affects me so deeply, but it does. It’s like if my marrow could talk, or if the secrets of the marrow in my bones could talk, it would tell the story she told in those pages. 

Another poem I love quite a bit is Elizabeth Bishop’s, At the Fishhouses. I fell in love with it when I heard the poet Robert Pinsky read it on a New Yorker podcast. Here’s the link: https://www.newyorker.com/podcast/poetry/robert-pinsky-reads-at-the-fishhouses-by-elizabeth-bishop.

Finally, Philip Levine’s poem What Work Is showed me that poetry could be something I could understand, could be a powerful way of talking about what is right in front of mw. However, the poem I am going to include here is They Feed They Lion because I love so much the surprising twist of language, and the reminded that sentences are what we make them.

Out of burlap sacks, out of bearing butter, 
Out of black bean and wet slate bread, 
Out of the acids of rage, the candor of tar, 
Out of creosote, gasoline, drive shafts, wooden dollies, 
They Lion grow. 

Out of the gray hills
Of industrial barns, out of rain, out of bus ride, 
West Virginia to Kiss My Ass, out of buried aunties, 
Mothers hardening like pounded stumps, out of stumps, 
Out of the bones' need to sharpen and the muscles' to stretch, 
They Lion grow. 

Earth is eating trees, fence posts, 
Gutted cars, earth is calling in her little ones, 
"Come home, Come home!" From pig balls, 
From the ferocity of pig driven to holiness, 
From the furred ear and the full jowl come
The repose of the hung belly, from the purpose
They Lion grow. 

From the sweet glues of the trotters
Come the sweet kinks of the fist, from the full flower
Of the hams the thorax of caves, 
From "Bow Down" come "Rise Up," 
Come they Lion from the reeds of shovels, 
The grained arm that pulls the hands, 
They Lion grow. 

From my five arms and all my hands, 
From all my white sins forgiven, they feed, 
From my car passing under the stars, 
They Lion, from my children inherit, 
From the oak turned to a wall, they Lion, 
From they sack and they belly opened
And all that was hidden burning on the oil-stained earth
They feed they Lion and he comes. 

The very best thing is to hear the poets themselves read their work. Listen to Levine: https://youtu.be/BOh36YpxsgQ

I wanted to do something different today as a blog post. I am in Austin and I spent the day at Oleg Lougheed’s conference “Hear Me Now”, and I got to listen to many powerful and loving and impassioned people tell their stories either with a microphone in order to talk to a group or simply standing outside a doorway or at a table, talking to one person at a time.

(The picture for this blog is one I took as I was lying on the stage during my talk. I didn't intend to take a selfie when I started my talk, but things get crazy when you're in front of an audience, and the next thing you know you are barefoot, prone, and saying cheese.)

I was reminded of the power of language and the beauty of using language to connect with the self and others. So tonight, before I went to bed, I turned to my favorite poems both to ground myself and to remind myself to shoot for the moon, and I decided to share them with you.

Sweet dreams.

See you tomorrow. 


Day 56 - Go Back to the Tingle

Day 56 - Go Back to the Tingle

Day 54 - True Confessions and the Austin Film Festival

Day 54 - True Confessions and the Austin Film Festival