Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret
among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times
but in tune with the ages. --First Things

Monday, December 09, 2013

Melanie at Antiphon


There's a poem of mine up in the current issue of Antiphon (UK)...

I did not begin this poem thinking of anyone in particular, but was musing about that time in life when people you love begin to vanish into death. But by the end I was dreaming of my friend Melanie Hook Rice, who died at 33 from that terrible enemy, breast cancer, and the image in my mind was, in part, a girl with an urn. Here are some simple facts about Melanie: she was in college and graduate school with me; she studied ballet for most of her life (one of her sisters danced for the Joffrey Ballet); she taught school for some years; she was happily married and the mother of two little children, and lived close to her parents in Gettysburg; and she had begun writing short stories and won an award for one before her death.

The last time I saw her she was dwindled and tiny. We lay on her bed in Gettysburg and told stories and laughed about things past, and her father brought her some okra soup on a tray--she had a few sips and was done. The bright light and life in her was still burning, so close to the end. How brave she was, how merry! I hardly knew how much it meant, back then.

She vanished into eternity many years ago now, but she still recurs to mind. And this is not the first poem into which she has drifted, a beautiful ghost, full of grace and truth.

* * *

Here's a snip to entice:

Girl with Jar

You carry your head high on the stalk of your neck,
as if you were carrying a jar of something precious
(a small Diogenes, perhaps, who slept inside a jar

Hop here for more.

Pleased to see facebook friends Claudia Gary and Janice D. Soderling in the contents...

8 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful tribute Marly.
    Of course I knew her too, but that was long ago, and in truth, I don't remember her. I never knew her as well as you clearly did.

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  2. I knew her much better later on--we spent a huge amount of time together while she was in grad school. When I went to my very first class and plunked down in the last open seat without looking about me, she sang out my name--she was sitting right next to me.

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  3. Very nice. I especially like the imagery and allusions.

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  4. I did indeed hop 'here' for more.
    A poem of loss, memory, and the recognition that life is now, and always glorious.
    It's beautiful, Marly.

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  5. Thank you, Mr. Tree! And now I'm off to sing--

    ReplyDelete
  6. After reading your moving words about your friend, I too, went to read the whole poem.
    Heavens, is it beautiful.

    Hope you had a good sing : )

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  7. Oh, thank you, Lynn--so glad you liked it!

    Yes, it was stellar--in fact, choir sounded unusually strong, I think. And that was a relief because the ordination was for someone who has been and is a singer-songwriter. And the whole ceremony was beautiful and moving.

    * * *

    And thanks to other facebook friends for shares and comments there as well. I appreciate it!

    ReplyDelete

Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.