Sunday, March 14, 2010

For The First Time

DeAnn Louise Daigle AWW 1/23/2010

Poets House. After about five minutes of looking around and then sitting down, I realize, clearly, that I hadn’t come here to read other people’s poetry. I had come here to write my own.

I came in and was greeted by a young man probably in his twenties, “Welcome. Is this your first time at Poets House?”

“Thank you. No, I came in September at the opening.”

“Would you mind signing the guest book?”

I signed my name, filled in my e-mail address though I doubted they could read it. People generally have trouble reading my e-mail address when I write it. I made a small donation, went to straighten out my looks in the restroom, and debated as to whether or not I should hang up my coat by the entrance, leaving it there while I went along upstairs. There were about three coats and jackets hanging on the clothes rack. I decided to carry my two hundred dollar feather coat upstairs.

The cushy chair by the window is wide and easily supports me and my coat and my bag as well. It’s quiet … very quiet, and the staff tip toes on the wooden floor.

Suddenly this feels like a sacred space. It holds art and it invites art to be made here. There’s only the droning sound of the air system. The windows overlook the Hudson River, the playground in the foreground and New Jersey in the background on the other side of the Hudson.

People are jogging along the boardwalk and parents and children – only a few on this cold yet sunny Saturday morning – are in the playground. Parents are pushing swings while children enjoy the movement while parents converse among one another. Other children are quietly playing in sandboxes and some are rocking in a kind of single see saw while others are skipping about.

Lots of jungle gyms are empty for now. It’s like watching a silent moving picture show. The window glass blocks out the outdoor noises.

The icons in this sacred space are shelves of books containing the words and phrases of artists. No stained glass windows here. Plenty of daylight from the long windows fills the lightly painted space where white and yellow walls reflect light back on itself and throughout. Long florescent suspended ceiling light bulbs hang over the stacks down away from where I sit.

My pew offers a splendid view.

Now, there are more running children in the playground and the jungle gyms are being used and parents walk around after their tiny progeny. Signs that read Stop and Raise Plow and No Standing Anytime line the side street where cars are parked and not parked along the playground space. Street lights – the old fashioned kind – line the side walk too. These are not gas lit like in the old days. They are electric and probably on a timer set to go off at nightfall. They give a pretty and romantic feel to this whole outdoor space.

Cabs drive by – all silently. The trees are bare of leaves and I know spring and summer will change the view. These trees will obscure some of the river view and some of the New Jersey panorama. What a great soft and silent space this is! I am delighted to be here.

Two helicopters hover above the Hudson and a jet leaves its silken stream across a lightly blue and yellow sky. Children slide down the curved and winding yellow slide and a tiny little fellow runs back to his red stroller.

A boat named Zephyr is heading up the Hudson. And a few people are walking dogs. Now, children – older ones – are running up the yellow curvy slide – young boys about nine or ten years old. They’re running and jumping on and off the jungle gyms like the boys back home did on the railroad cars. Boys – full of energy and daring.

A man is parallel parking a car across the street and does it with admirable ease.

A woman runs out of a car to jump the low divide and into the playground. A man leaps over the same divide; looks like she’s relieving him. She’s come to be with her child in the playground. There are two children and she’s up on the tiered platform with them. And Dad just returned. All four of them are now up on the jungle gym-like platform.

I am delighted to be here.

I must go now; grocery shopping to do and errands to run. Jim and I plan to see a movie later.

This is my first time writing at Poets House. I will return again.

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