May 26, 2013

Thought Provokers, In Memoriam: June Beisch, Poet

Three years ago on this day at 9:45 in the morning, breast cancer took my mother. She lived an inspiring life filled with poetry, introspection, passion and discovery. She was one of the true artistic souls that has inspired me in my life. Today I remember her through her poetry. I include one of my personal photographs where I endeavor to create a similiar experience as her poems do- one that transcends the specific and reaches to an experience of a moment that all can relate to.


This morning, I stepped out
onto the deck
and into the cold, sharp
morning air
and the cold sharp scent
of a skunk
lurking nearby, close
enough to remind me
that some are up early
sorting through life’s detritus,
hoping to uncover
its purpose or meaning,
some are reconnoitering,
hoping to discover
just who is the enemy, who the friend.
Last night, I sat reading poems
from a new anthology
and after a while, I put the book down,
lowered my head, my heart
aching. I was filled
with the most delicious
sadness. I was no longer in the
everyday, ordinary world but
was transported to the one of
beauty and of sorrow
and I saw then
how much we need sadness
and how sometimes, reading poetry,
you come upon a sudden
sharp whiff of truth and it
enters your life, it hurts you,
and it can even
set you free


On first seeing it, I was repelled
by the idea of eating something so
exotic looking and sinister,

having read Jean Paul Sartre's line 
about crustaceans having a dubious
consciousness. But I was in New York, and 

the young man I had met there tucked
my napkin under my chin and
handed me a nutcracker for the shell.

I was from Minnesota, raised on
lakes and brook trout. I, too, was
uncooked and formless, like the creatures

who take on the shape of their environment
My first taste was delicious, but the
third was even better and by

that time I was a real New York girl
who wore skinny black dresses and false eyelashes,
able to handle myself with any

crustacean, dubious consciousness or not.

This was part of the article that the Boston Globe wrote about her after her passing:

Having survived cancer for 30 years, she wrote poems that looked beyond the end of her own life. Poets, Mrs. Beisch wrote, seek “the dangerous places of the heart,’’ those spaces where on a snowy night in Cambridge:
you keep on writing your poems and some
are melting into nothingness and some
are sticking and holding on, reaching someone
making that small human contact and
then, in that world so full of endless dark,
the world becomes so white you think
that even you might leave a mark.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful and moving: both, words and photos.