Meanwhile, here's a poem from me to all you stationery supply addicts:
I put four bits on the counter
and the box was mine.
Six yellow pencils fit there
side by side, I was perfectly addled,
I was a goner – even before I knew
the alphabet, I knew its cedar perfume –
painted on the top, over the willow,
the m-stroke for a bird, everything
was suggestion then, before
the putting on of too fine a point.
People expected me to come
in my burning pockets, after all
the box was wooden, cheap
went a long way
when heaven was closer.
It's always been my theory that you could predict who was going to be a writer by the way he or she behaved in stationary stores when young. An early love of pencils, pens, erasers, rulers, graph paper, tracing paper, architectural supplies, index cards, blank books, ledgers.....a love of those is a good predictor, for some reason, of a later love of words.
The poem was first published in The Threepenny Review. If you subscribe to just one literary journal, that's the one you should subscribe to - the editor is Wendy Lesser (who wrote the fascinating Pictures at an Execution and edited The Genius of Language: Fifteen Writers Reflect on Their Mother Tongue) and she fills every issue to the brim with wonderful essays, poems, stories, reviews and art (often photography). TTR is stimulating and intelligent, and it never disappoints. Think about giving a subscription to someone (even yourself!) as a gift.
To see the round-up this week for Poetry Friday, go to Sylvia Vardell's wonderful blog, Poetry for Children.