My inner grammar cop is itching to correct the title but curveball is a noun meaning curve a continuous line with a bend and no straight in it, derived from the Latin: curvare to bend or curvus crooked. Curveballs come from nowhere and you never ever see them coming.
I wonder if I’ve been on this metaphoric baseball field of a life and just missed them; never ever saw their graceful arc .Perhaps I had my head in my hands; maybe I had my nose in too many books, maybe I’m just too busy at work – 7 am starts take their toll. Perhaps I was always ducking at the right time. But three curveballs in a week mean its time to take stock and prioritise.
The first curveball was a sprained wrist in circumstances where I was whizzing to get to somewhere and more haste meant less speed -I need to take timeout to breathe and watch the raindrops fall down the window. The second curveball I could anticipate: I’ve caught it, grasped it and practiced next to the bleachers for so long that I am overjoyed to be visiting Boston, my American family, and the Keisers while I present a topic at Harvard. It means I can revisit Orchard House, the House of the Seven Gables, and swim on the other side of the Atlantic. And i can’t quite believe this dream is on its way to being realised. It means enormous amounts of writing, redrafting and revising;lots of reading Young Adult Literature -American and UK, and digging out notebooks that have been stored for so long, I no longer really know wherethey’re hiding.
The major aspect of being single means that I am free to sleep next to my laptop, kindle and Ipad. Storm Desmond is raging — Why do they give storms such old fashioned names? And I am free to turn on the light, start reading or writing without worrying about grumpy rumbles, or deep, painful burdened sighs. It means I can have Professor Bear – my graduation Build-a-Bear trophy who is named after the character in Little Women – on the bed. It means that ‘The Girls’, Ginnie and Jessie can sleep next to me – my daughter and I have ‘shared access’. But these freedoms have a price tag.
The final metaphorical curveball left me with a headache and needing stitches. And I don’t know whatI’m going to do with it other than write and think and pray. Pray hard. As a child,in my pink and purple five year old bedroom, in a family of adults, I used to believe that I would grow up and be given answers. That i would always know what to do, when to do it and how to respond. I think its timeout for a blood injury.
I am grand-dog sitting today; the demon devil collie arrives at 9. Desmond has made it difficult for long doggie walks, poor Jack my aged Golden Retriever was blown over yesterday. So its going to be a looooooooooong day. So to offset Desmond, I offer some quieter poems written in snowbound 2010 – Ice while Driving to Duffryn was written there over New Year 2011.
The Saviour has come
like dead dates in a rifled calendar
in time lapsed images from a thirties film
snow turns the village to ice
the moon questions this magic-less world
a scowl in the cloud allows starlight to pass
trees are still
bats hide and a barn owl screeches
scaring frozen field mice
each step compacts ice to
blue green white diamante
touch cross circle tramp
where neighbours conversed —
six points merged —
compressed to sheets of ice
In the pure air
snow turns the village to ice
padded with snow and prayers
but voices are muffled
silence rings in the cut off phone
and the hum of the heating
and the saviour has come
come and gone
the village waits
Driving to Duffryn
there’s no hint of fox
just black mist breathing droplets
compressing the car
shrinking in on itself
on the weak bridge at Penmaen Pool
the night throws rain like bullets
the mist switches on streetlights
the passing farmhouses are dark
too far from sight
fog holds the surf
but cannot conceal the wind
that rolls it
so the earth still breathes
others come and go in the passing traffic
only the ravens are constant
sleeping ink like on winter branches
where hidden owls call