She will go inside

Friday, 6 September 2013

gracia & louise

I can’t even look at my previous post now, because it makes me feel anxious. This whole coming weekend and voting day tomorrow makes me feel anxious in general. I feel the need to end this week with something good though, to counteract all this crap. So here are a few good things.

Today is Gracia’s birthday! Happy, happy birthday dearest Gracia. The photo that you see above is from Gracia & Louise’s instagram. Looking at their instagram photos always makes me feel good. This photo in particular is one of my favourites since it not only features fine felines draped ever so elegantly, but also a plaque my mum hand-painted as a gift for them in the bottom left corner (the pansies) hanging below the beautiful artwork of Gracia’s own mum. This photo never fails to bring a smile to my face.

Another lovely thing comes by way of Odessa, who sent me a really touching birthday present in the mail that arrived yesterday. Inside, I found this poem transcribed by Odessa in her letter:

Because of Libraries We Can Say These Things
By Naomi Shihab Nye

She is holding the book close to her body,
carrying it home on the cracked sidewalk,
down the tangled hill.
If a dog runs at her again, she will use the book as a shield.

She looked hard among the long lines
of books to find this one.
When they start talking about money,
when the day contains such long and hot places,
she will go inside.
An orange bed is waiting.
Story without corners.
She will have two families.
They will eat at different hours.

She is carrying a book past the fire station
and the five and dime.
What this town has not given her
the book will provide; a sheep,
a wilderness of new solutions.
The book has already lived through its troubles.
The book has a calm cover, a straight spine.

When the step returns to itself,
as the best place for sitting,
and the old men up and down the street
are latching their clippers,

she will not be alone.
She will have a book to open
and open and open.
Her life starts here.

Amen to everything in this poem. It’s particularly poignant to me at the moment, when I feel like knowledge and books and all the wealth of beauty, humanity and thought they contain are coming under attack as political agendas. Excuse my French, but fuck people who want to narrow rather than expand our world; fuck people who don’t recognise the value of knowledge and the worlds that ideas can open up; fuck people who want to limit thought and call it ‘futile’; fuck small minds who want to lead our country into ignorance so that rich people can get richer. This poem speaks right to my heart and head now. Thank you Odessa.


Cassandra said...

I really feel for you, Hila. Where you are willing to stay, however, I was not and left Australia earlier this year for the very reasons you gave in your last post. I feel confident that one day Australia will understand the importance of education but how far will it slip behind the rest of the world before that happens is the troubling part. I love the poem you have posted especially the 4th line. I can't help thinking of Abbott as that dog.

Hila said...

Cassandra: I would love to leave, I can't see any future in my profession in Australia. There is a growing contempt for intellectual and creative life here that is stifling and bizarre (not to mention irrational). If I could find a job overseas, I'd leave. I hope one day we will realise the damage that this contempt for education does, but it'll probably be too late by then.

Yes, I can't help thinking of Abbott as that dog too - but to be fair, dogs are lovely creatures and don't deserve the comparison!

Rachel Bayles Lacey said...

Great poem. Great post.

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures said...

So sorry that the election is causing you so much stress. Been there done that, NOT fun! :(

Hila said...

Thanks Rachel.

Andi: No, not fun!