Saturday, October 11, 2008


candelabra
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My sweet grandmother turned 88 last week. About three years ago doctors offered her a choice. To risk a dangerous operation in which she might lose her life, or do nothing and allow ... allow the inevitable eroding tissue of her heart to give out at its own pace (soon).

She took the risk.

They cut her open, took her heart into hand, put it on a table beside her body. They went through it for any weakness the way you might finger the fabric of an old family quilt--to mend, strengthen. Then they put her heart back (with over 80 years of love--for my grandfather, my family, the earth, her traveling, every little secret thing she may or may not even know about herself, or tell anyone else; all maybe within it).

Imagine holding in your hand the beating center of someone’s life? I try to imagine its weight, its obvious warmth, its pulsing against the sensitivity of my pulse. It makes me weak, all over. To hold another’s heart like that, to share that kind of experience, I would quite literally fall in love—bonded to that person forever.

It is in our hands, really, just like that, so much: this world, its health/our health, the quality of giving, of mercy, integrity. Truth telling, risk. One to another, we are each other’s heart surgeons, mind surgeons, hope surgeons—teachers. (Aren’t we)?
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Nazim Hikmet ..... his poem On Living: this is a poem that made me think once, that poetry really mattered when i was almost 20. More here...
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some rare old beauties: I have a friend who dismantles these to use in sculpture (she drives me nuts cause i always want them). Look to the left for versions.
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Beckett, Play: part 1 & part 2 also the text..
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peace to all of you--and a *can i please
refuse to take a bath" peek a boo from mr. beagle bunny. : )
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link to tumbleword other site
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ahh.. : ) a beautiful day
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36 comments:

Disa said...

a beautiful post. and a birthday truly worht celebrating and lighting "candles" for :)

mansuetude said...

thanks Disa.
I think she's worth it...
she's clearer of memory than i am sometimes!

Jo Stocker said...

Nice- you are back! And your Gran: Shivers. "On Living" - what an impulse, for my heart ot beat even more strongly. My Gran was 90 last month. I adore old people (and little children, the contrast, the similarity at times).

karin said...

Very touching post.

Jeane said...

Sincerely one of the most touching things I've read in a long time - truly there is too much here to absorb in one visit - I will have to come back several times - Becket, my hero!

Ritva said...

i have lost my beloved in a heart operation. those thoughts of yours-
i recognize them. the utmost nearness and the concrete act of holding a heart. his.

Marie-Louise said...

I´m so glad to see that you are back:)

Gwen Buchanan said...

yes, we are each others Hope...

"On Living".. Did I write this.. oh I wish I did...
It feels as if it fell from my mouth......... but I am not as graceful with words.. Thank you for sharing this poem.. It is a soul-gripper ..
I am but a mite.

...fabulous bl/wh's!!!! ...etched... part of the rock...

As time goes on I think and hope we develop a keener sense of the magnificence of invention of fellow humans minds... (the Beauties are truly beautiful) Some of the beauties' decorations remind me of the designs painted on the massively heavy cast iron sound-board inside my Amherst Piano which used to be my grandmothers...stamped 1917.
The designs were painted with such flourish and flow... they are so beautiful... although no one can see them... they were buried deep inside... only seen when it was completely taken apart and refurbished last Feb. ...
The 2 piano tuners, a man and his wife, arrived as 2 feet or more of snow crusty on top, so each footstep had to crunch through the hardened surface, fell to the ground.. They plodded on foot up our 1000' driveway, one section very steep,(we could not see them as most of the driveway is below the bluff) with their toolboxes under their arms...
They really cared about what they did...

They carefully took her apart...piece by piece by piece... everything... laid her on her back... carefully removed and laid her keys one by one in a long row on the floor, by the patio door where the sunshine streamed in on them...
...undid the strings and pulled them far across the room.. a major operation.. trimmed her felt hammers.. adjusted... listened... touched... repaired her ivories... and with a trained instinct(he was taught by his father when he was a boy, he is now in his 70's) for hearing the most minute sound as they tightened the screws to the proper key...
...It was an experience just to be in the presence of such knowing ability...Then unlike Humpty Dumpty they put her back together again... as good as new...

I always treasured my grandmothers piano but know I feel I know her......

long story but your post triggered it..

I am so glad that time was lengthened on this earth for your sweet grandmother.. you have a treasure to hold dear... and she has a treasure in you... to have such a care for one another is a gift no one can take away...
you described it so well i felt the sensations... A most happy happy birthday for your grandmothers 89th birthday yet to come...

Mr.Beagle Bunny... Baths can be fun sometimes... want a little treat?

Alana said...

So remarkable and remarkably put. May she have many more years.
And Mr. Beagle Bunny is so sweet! I found you through South End Blend. My "bunny" can be viewed at theroux.typepad.com.
:)

Esti said...

A moving post.
My grandma turned 83 last week and I realte to this post a lot. What's in her heart I can only guess, but she's given me more than I can have in my hands...

mary said...

What a story. Your grandmother is a strong lady!

mansuetude said...

Jo S--Thank you...i still can see your grandfather's little pencil. Maybe we all need to get something that small, hand held from our people before they leave. Older, means wise, full of great stories and wealth. We have to take their stories up and keep them awake.

Karin--thanks, can't wait to see the face of your little one in your womb... maybe next week?

Jeane--i think this is the first time i have encountered the world "sincerely" on a blog. It went right into me. :)
I was going to post a Waiting for Godot thing, but this one when I listened to it the first two times, i got the personal idea--their story and their stuckness. But then I listened some more and some more until it became like psycho babble in the back ground and i didn't care what the story was; i wondered what will my jar of dust whisper endlessly about--will that be the end of evolution in a person? But after forcing myself to see it again and again, it felt like the media, and how we become numb to "anything" by repetition--we tune out and ignore (like with violence on tv)... I am babbling a bit. Thanks for your words.

mansuetude said...

Ritva--thanks for sharing this; i know how it feels; and another blogger lost her mother and IT made me cry the other day. It heals us.

Mary Louise--i am going to hold onto your comment in case you come over and delete your beautiful words again. you should NOT do that... not here. :)

Gwen-- ahh... what can i say... it makes me want another essay on my desk by moonbeam down, to think about Hikmet coming out of your mouth... the story is so beautiful, such a gift to me, love the sunlight on the floor part; the snow crust... Mr. Beagle bunny wants you to tell what happened next--did they get a treat, a bit of chicken, did they walk down the hill in the snow, at 70, it is amazing to think of walking that much up such a place... did they see a rabbit... you so crystalized the heart of my post and its "beauties" into a new hearted beauty... little dust you ... :) Thank you.

Alana--thanks for visiting...i will travel over to see your bunny, too.

Esti--thanks... its true, what is in an 80-90 year old woman's heart (there must be so much kept back, and the generations are different, the ideas of what is said and not said. I am going to record my grandmother soon... she wants to.

Mary--why do you make me think of Lobster Bisque... thanks. :)

Gwen Buchanan said...

can you see the moon now out your window.. high in the sky.. it is like day out... ah but alas, not a warm moon.. a cool blue moon.

tell beagle bunny they slid down the driveway on saucers as big as his eyes when he sees a new bone ...

they agreed to have lunch with us and they told us of tuning pianos in the Caribbean, Yukon, Florida and all across the States and in Russia, where for a month he trained many more his skills... fascinating down to earth people...

mansuetude said...

its dark here--but the moon is almost full and has layers of halos. A softish almost yellow haze closest to it, then a redish ring, then a slight haze of almost white-blue which is wider and bleeds into the black, it might be the city air affecting ... :)

Gwen Buchanan said...

These colorations are in my view now too.. it is exactly as you describe..

such colors in a night...

thank you for drawing my attention to look closer as it rose higher...

Jo said...

Your 'heart warming':)post has made my day more beautiful.
Happy belated birthday wishes to your Grandmother...88 is truly a magnificent number of years old to be...
"On Living" it's making me really think!..."The Earth, The Forest" magnificent and moving.
Thank you for sharing what you know...I love knowing it too:)

mansuetude said...

Gwen--

when mr. beagle bunny sees a bone his eyes don't get wide like saucers--he dances... he shakes his head around and pounces so gently,backs up, moves toward, backs up, tosses his head about; its one of my joys.

when we were out walking the colors were big white moon, and a huge misty white flourish beneath it, as if one of those signers of the declaration of Independence had just put one of those thick lines under a signature.

I want to talk more about the cave...about sensing something from another time...

Jo--i think that sharing what we know is what is happening; its like little doors open more and more. Its also fun. Thanks for the wishes... and for sharing too.

Erin said...

what a wonderful post. I loved reading it. thank you, and happy birthday to your Gran.

Christine said...

WAUW! I'm between speachless and flowing over with words. This is one amazing post, M - I mean, I know I'm in for a treat when I come here, but oh dear.

The story of your grandmothers heart is moving and your point profound. Yes. I agree, and thank you for putting that image to mind. I love that you would fall in love, if you held the heart of another being. And that you do so, every day. Quietly, I suspect.
"Hope surgeon"! I love it - it's perfect. I'm in awe.

It's a beautiful poem. "a curious anger"; so beautiful. The photographs too.

The Becketts blew me away. It was amazing.

"ahh ..."
Thank you, a beautiful day to you. And my best to Beagle.

Intense. Thank you, very much.

Christine said...

Oup—allmost forgot -- I love your picture - and the pasted-in scribbled bit :)

♥ Tiny Red said...

yes, quite moving... and beautiful images too.
T

Gwen Buchanan said...

Well I'm sure dancing down the plowed driveway would have been more glorious than on a saucer anyway... ... backwards and forwards... to and fro.. beagle bunny is surely an inspiration...

I have always felt more suited to the past... the long, long ago past... Modern days have too much rush.. maybe that is why a cave has symbolism to me...

I failed to tell you before... The manner in which you wrote about your grandmother and her tender beating heart was breathtaking... It brought tears to my eyes...

mansuetude said...

Erin-- Thanks so much, its nice to have you over.

Christine--What generous words to me, always. Thank you... I know you said once that you might +like to+ get into poetry some day, but poetry is in so much, already... its in you and your work. People are taught to fear it, as an idea, in school. I wanted to say that before, you already are into it! if that makes sense.

Gwen-- Mr. B-Bunny is honestly an inspiration to me, a lot. He is so gentle, and so aware. If i were to live with the animals, his consciousness would be one I would want near me...

the cave, so much thinking it brings up... as a question, it reveals so much... Yes, there are places in time and space i have often felt very "linked" to, and also some very repulsed by. Maybe lots of us have these experiences--i think this is a fascinating topic ...

thanks...i have never met a tear i didn't eventully like...:)
(i have no idea what that means) :) Maybe the moonlight knows.

omami said...

beautiful story again, life is precious, glad to see your grandmother is feeling better!!!

g said...

"They cut her open, took her heart into hand, put it on a table beside her body. They went through it for any weakness the way you might finger the fabric of an old family quilt--to mend, strengthen. Then they put her heart back (with over 80 years of love--for my grandfather, my family, the earth, her traveling, every little secret thing she may or may not even know about herself, or tell anyone else; all maybe within it)."

Enchanted by your description, enamored of your beautiful story-telling ways. What does a heart feel like, to hold... I wonder.

Roxana said...

now the moon is full here... I was just gazing it before coming to the computer. you must be so happy to have such a grandmother. I know I was, and still am, and so grateful that she took care of me in her unique way. you can see her picture here:
http://roxanaghita.blogspot.com/2008/07/my-grandmother.html

your post moved me so much.

janie said...

Your blog is so thought provoking, I love it.
you've awoken a beautiful funny memory for me;
My friend and mentor was eighty five when she was asked by one of the teenagers working in her pottery if would she like to win the lotto, to which my darling "Mrs.Tittlemouse" replied in all seriousness "of course I would, you don't think I want to work in the pottery all my life do you?"
My friend had set up the pottery about fifty years ago with her husband!
She would appreciate planting olive trees for sure, unfortunately she has passed on, and sometimes I just can't believe she gone!

Robyn said...

Such a touching post. I will be back to reread the poem. Lots of food for thought there.

mansuetude said...

Omami--you are so right, and thanks for all the beauty you share too-

g--it took me a bit to recognize you as you, g... new set up and all. Thanks, you know your creative world enchants...

Roxana--its so true, all the moonlight and the mystery...i loved that it was about 2 in the afternoon and i was eating lunch and you were gazing (there is no way to explain how we tend that mystery, even though we know logically... i am glad we can not be logically awake sometimes)...thanks for that link.

Janie--very wonderful, funny. I was thinking/writing a bit about the woman i have done a wee bit of pottery with; there was an 80 year old woman who used to sit with me in there, and she was so wonderful, too... I think she isn't gone, your friend, but like an olive tree planted in you--giving always...

Robyn--thanks for making the trip. i am enjoying your blog so much.

bookbabie said...

Wonderful post and link to the poem:)

Arnold Layne said...

That really is so true - what it must be like to hold someone's heart. After that, you must be bonded in a away.

Great pics, love the "candelabra".

Mary-Laure said...

Wishing your wise granny a wonderful birthday and many more to come... Your love for her radiates.

Bibbi said...

I think you have her strong heart :)

Apifera Farm said...

Wonderful post, and blog. Isuffer from a rural land line, so reading other blogs can be...painful. Yours is so full of everything, so I will earnestly come back.

Alexandra Hedberg said...

so beautiful.

I could fell your grandmother's heart beating... and in some way smell the blood