Wednesday, March 12, 2014

On the Periphery

(art from website "the ocean of compassion")


I was thinking about how young people look at old people;  how I looked at old people when I was young.  

On the street, a woman my age is close to invisible.  Here on campus, I’m not so invisible because so many students know me. But the ones who don’t know me often will pass by without looking at me,
Unless I smile and greet them. Then, their faces light up and they smile and greet me back.

But when I walk down the street in Frederick, or Baltimore, or Washington, generally, I’m invisible.
When I walk down the aisles in the huge grocery store, the people my age will look at me and nod or smile, but the younger ones don’t see me unless I am in their way.

I have been applying for summer writing residencies : The Vermont Studio Center, The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and have not gotten one. I tried the Sewanee Summer Conference and did not get accepted into that. The only ones I am getting into are the ones I have to pay for. I have to conclude that my poetry just isn’t good enough… but I also wonder if it is not because I am old.  I don’t have a promising future.

On the other hand, it is Lent, and it’s a time for me to scrutinize my misplaced priorities. We Sisters recently received a letter from the priest who is our Head Vincentian; he quoted Pope Francis, who challenged us to go out to the margins: “We have to look at things from the periphery. We have to go there in order to really know the life of the people.” 

Saints Emily Dickinson and Gerard Manley Hopkins, patrons of hidden poets, pray for me.

No comments: