Wednesday, February 17, 2021

 This was yesterday's writing prompt:

I propped my book open and stared listlessly at the page of the Georgics where tomorrow’s lesson began. . . . “Primus ego in patriam mecum . . . deducam Musas”; “for I shall be the first, if I live, to bring the Muse into my country.” [Our teacher] . . . explained to us that “patria” here meant, not even a nation, or even a province, but the little rural neighborhood on the Mincio where the poet was born. This was not a boast, but a hope, at once bold and devoutly humble, that he might bring the Muse (but lately come to Italy from her cloudy Grecian mountains), not to the capital, the palatia Romana, but to his own little “country”; to his father’s fields, “sloping down to the river and to the old beech trees with broken tops.” 

—Willa Cather, My Ántonia

And it was a good prompt too: I am so pleased with the poem I drafted, which came to me swiftly and easily, as if it had been waiting for me. I worked on it till mid-morning, and then sighed and returned to my unromantic life; but as I hung laundry and read emails, I hugged my infant poem to my chest, and it gave me warmth.

Yesterday's ice storm was a mess. Twice, I scraped and salted the driveway and sidewalks, but this morning everything has frozen hard again. At least we have heat and power (those poor Texans) as well as a break between storms (my Chicago son says they've had measurable snow for ten days straight). 

Today: my 8 a.m. exercise class; then some Frost Place stuff, and laundry, and floors; and in the afternoon a phone call with Teresa about our Millay reading project; plus ice scraping, if the air warms up enough to trigger some melting.

I'm in a giddy mood, though . . . My thoughts are coursing and connecting, not just in poems but in other ways too. It's exhilarating, these snaps of synthesis and discovery. Body and brain and spirit--alive.

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