Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What's In You Will Save You

Last night I got to hear one of my favorite poets read at Gonzaga, Sharon Olds.

There is a quote she's used in her books from the Gospel of Thomas--the host introduced her with. It stood out to me immediately and I thought that it's the best way to describe the honesty of, what she confessed last night, is her autobiographical poetry. But it's also a quote I think is very true for all of us:

If you bring forth what is within you,
what you bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you,
what you do not bring forth will destroy you.

My husband was excited for me to meet this poet I've loved reading so much, so he was ready with the camera as I went to get her autograph in her book, The Wellspring. Unfortunately, I'd set the camera to video last week and he didn't know how to turn it off, so instead of a picture, you get live footage of the moment.

A lot of the poetry she read last night was about her children--and especially, her daughter when she was leaving for college. As you know from reading my recent entries, this was something I could relate to. Here is a bit of High School Senior.

There are creatures whose children float away
at birth, and those who throat-feed their young
for weeks and never see them again. My daughter
is free and she is in me--no, my love
of her is in me, moving in my heart,
changing chambers, like something poured
from hand to hand, to be weighed and then reweighed.

This morning I'm meeting a friend for a ride at the arena. This is what I have to ride through to get there.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure my horses are out there somewhere!


  1. Sounds like you had a fascinating evening, with Olds really inspiring thought, and visions of life. I like the quote, especially the way she emphasizes bringing forth what's in you. Self knowledge informs all that we do, gives such meaning to our passions, to art, to daily living. I think by bringing it forth, we truly embrace who we are.

  2. Sharon Olds is wonderful - how amazing that you got to meet her! My youngest daughter just left for college this fall, so the lines about the daughter were especially meaningful.

  3. Joanne and Kate--it really was special getting to hear her read--I highly recommend it for anyone. She's funny at times, deadly serious at others--always surprising. The perfect mix. Sometimes readings can be a bit boring, this one was not. :)


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