I tell my beginning poetry students to stay lean, meaning to cut, pare, tighten, so that the line has musical resonance. Yes, even sacrifice content for rhythm and sound. Let go of adjectives, adverbs, editorializing. "Stay lean," is probably my most frequent comment on the students' work, at first.
This tautness is second nature to my work. But what about my life?
This week, in preparation for a routine procedure at the hospital, I've been on a clear liquid diet for a few days, and have lost about a pound a day. I feel better, younger, even. I can run faster.
So my resolution is to keep the excess weight off, to stop eating things that aren't food. Michael Pollan is my guide. Keep the cream to a minimum, avoid the plastic.
Think of those great open markets in Auvillar and Valence d'Agen. The bright colors and perfumes, gifts to all the senses. The dazzling paella stands. Okay, okay, I'm getting hungry! Procedure will be over tomorrow by 5 p.m.
Then I'll begin to begin again, more consciously. More slowly, savoring.
Causes Marilyn Kallet Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, ACLU, Amnesty International, Save Darfur.