Begin Again: Collected Poems
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The collected poems--some never previously published--of one of our best-loved, most respected authors.
Combining Grace Paley's four previous collections and new unpublished work, Begin Again traces the career of this direct, attentive, never predictable poet. Whether she describes the vicissitudes and pleasures of life in New York City or the hard beauty of her adoptive rural Vermont, whether she celebrates the blessings of friendship or protests against social injustice, her poems brim with the compassion and tough good humor that have made her stories and essays famous.
Happiness If you have acquired a taste for happiness it’s very hard to do without so you try jollity for a while jokes and merriment Song is one of the famous methods for continuing or entrenching happiness You may say what about sex is it its own keen pleasure or according to some the night’s sorrow Here is another example of ordinary joy it is prose but uses whole days and nights the gathering together of comrades in bitter disagreement then resolution
followed by determined action Still the face of life will change partly because of those miserable scratches it makes on its own aging surface then happiness in the risky busy labor of Repair the World after which for the unsated there will surely be talking all night dances in schoolrooms and kitchens and later love of happiness the most famous of all Definition My dissent is cheer a thankless disposition first as the morning star my ambition: good luck and
off here? since when? oh for the last couple of years she nearly touched my hand yes I said you were still alive A Letter My mother because I don’t write many poems for you doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about you every single day of these last fifty years what an avalanche of time I can’t begin to tell you it’s true though in one or two busy decades when the children were young and noisy when the war and intense sexual love
interfered it’s possible I thought of you my mother less often even then suddenly in the evening I might see you for a moment standing beside my father under the Norway maple your hair is at last cut short and is becoming to your broad Slavic face your hands are clasped lightly over the belly of a summer dress your arms nearly hide the fact that you have only one breast I watch my sister snap that picture my mother I have not needed to hold it in my hand For
courage is greater than mine Days pass no voice answers his My dear I say this is because the times are bad speaker and speaker do not know one another and the song sung by the people to the singer is not known though the melody is theirs Quarrel Bob and I in different rooms talking to ourselves carrying on last night’s hard conversation convinced the other one the life companion wasn’t listening Autumn 1 What is sometimes called a tongue of flame or an arm extended