Reply Mon 1 May, 2006 02:55 pm


I was not born to live on Mercy Street.
I wasn't carried through those halls, so I can only wonder:
Were the windows shuttered and doors closed tight?
As the family gathered around the table, did you feel locked in or out?
Did you plan your escape or had you thought you might settle-
At home, in that house on Mercy Street?

I can't picture the layout of such a house.
Was the kitchen warm- your bedroom comfortable?
Did it catch the morning or afternoon sun? Any views?
What color were the rooms, the shadows, the secrets?
Were the floors carpeted with misgivings or
tiled with disappointment? Did you have to step lightly?

I didn't see the way light filtered through those
long, confining windows. Were the curtains linen or lace?
Did the sun fall in heavy, sporadic drops on the floor,
or gather in white slats, secretive and prohibited-
only slipping in through the cracks?
And, were you awake or dreaming as it faded?

I live far from Mercy Street, but I've visited you there.
And sometimes I open my windows and breathe the air you breathed.
It sings to me, the night sky weighted with words and ghosts.
You must have heard some other song. I like to picture you-
A sidewalk prophet on Mercy Street hurling yourself aloft
without a parachute and soaring to the edge of your own green heaven.

*I've been listening to Peter Gabriel who I think is an innovative musician and an incredible writer. He has a song that I love called "Mercy Street" It is about Anne Sexton. I'm not particularly enamored of her poetry - although a lot of other people are, so I'm not discounting her. I think it's just a little too unrelentingly bleak for my taste. But I find her perceptions and story interesting. I wanted to give her a happy ending.
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Lady J
Reply Tue 2 May, 2006 12:11 am

Beautifully written. It's interesting and I am glad you put the side note in there. While reading it, for some reason, I thought you may have been recollecting about grandmother.....

I've recently (within the last couple of years) been listening to some Peter Gabriel offerings. He is a wonderful lyricist!!
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Reply Tue 2 May, 2006 01:19 am
Lady J.- Thank you. You have a good memory. I think maybe one of the reasons the stories of people like Anne Sexton interest me is because I can see (through reading their writing) that their perceptions and experiences of things are so different ( than mine at least). And I wonder what forces shaped those views and perceptions. I guess that was true about my grandmother - although she didn't commit suicide- and Anne Sexton did.

I guess I like to hope that people who are so desperately unhappy in the world here, find something more comforting when they move on (in whatever fashion they do).

A good collection of Peter Gabriel's music is called Shaking the Tree. It's kind of like his greatest hits (although he never had very many top ten kind of songs). But I like it because it covers the whole spectrum of his musical styles. It has his funny, kind of off-beat, but upbeat stuff, his more lyrical and thoughtful songs, and a lot of his African inspired rhythms and music - which I really like. Just in case you're interested.
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