It Took a While–But You’ve been Published, Lou
April 11, 2015 § Leave a comment
Sorting through my bookshelves, I picked up the bulky, gray-blue book and leafed through its thin pages. Should I keep it, or put it in the garage sale pile?The Book of Poetry of the English Speaking World looked well worn, and I had other poetry collections. On the inside cover in ink I found the name Louise McFarlane, Nov. 13, 1941, and a street address but no city. A quick Google search and I found her address was indeed a Seattle address. Another site told me the house at that address had been sold recently by someone who could be her daughter or granddaughter, or perhaps it was Louise herself. The house had stayed in the family, and the book hadn’t traveled far.
At the top of a half sheet of yellowed paper tucked inside I found a poem executed on a typewriter by a typist who hit some keys with more strength so the type had varying shades of darkness. One word–“each”–had been crossed out and “every” inserted in its place. Two letters had been typed over and corrected, making it seem a likely first draft. From the notation on the half sheet I saw Lou, had written the poem for a verse writing class on Nov. 26, 1956. It read:
Caught in the grip of indecision, I wrestled with my mind, Believing in the proverb–“He who seeks shall find.”
In the solitude of aloneness, I felt the sharp impact of every objective reason, and each deciding fact.
I carefully weighed and measured, –as if by rule and scale.
— I gave complete attention to each minute detail until no longer swayed by the arguments I hurled, I made my decision, and gave Atlas back his world.”
At the bottom Lou had typed: “To My Sister Her child like beauty and grown up grace, no longer bless this earthly place.”
If Louise was 18 in 1941 when she inscribed the book, she would have been 33 in 1956 when she wrote the poem. It is now 2015 and 59 years later Louise would be 92. She had paraphrased that bit of scripture (“He who seeks shall find”), but determined that Atlas was in charge of the world.
Is Louise McFarlane still living? Maybe she was like so many of us who long to leave a legacy saying who we are, our tentative or bold imprint as if pounded by fingers on a typewriter on the blank sheet of our lives. Did she go on to write more poetry and prose? Had she longed to be published? Did she decide God, not Atlas, held her future in His hands? I don’t know. But, here’s to you, Lou, I found you. You’ve been heard. You’ve been published.
copyright 2015 Inger Logelin