Pure Gravy

Today is April 1st and the beginning of National Poetry Month. To celebrate all month long, you can find 30 activities from the Academy of American Poets here.

At the coffee shop this morning, the grinning barista told me he was super happy to be alive. He emanated energetic and upbeat vibes. He made me realize, when I stopped to think about it, that I too feel super happy to be alive. And that reminded me of this autobiographical poem by Raymond Carver. He wrote it shortly before he died - far too young at the age of 50 - from lung cancer. This poem, "Gravy" is inscribed on his gravestone, along with "Late Fragment."

 

Gravy

No other word will do.  For that's what it was.
Gravy.
Gravy, these past ten years.
Alive, sober, working, loving, and
being loved by a good woman.  Eleven years
ago he was told he had six months to live
at the rate he was going.  And he was going
nowhere but down.  So he changed his ways
somehow.  He quit drinking!  And the rest?
After that it was all gravy, every minute
of it, up to and including when he was told about,
well, some things that were breaking down and
building up inside his head.  "Don't weep for me,"
he said to his friends.  "I'm a lucky man.
I've had ten years longer than I or anyone
expected.  Pure Gravy.  And don't forget it."

 


Late Fragment

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

Sarah Burns