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Just before her death in 2007 at the age of eighty-four, Grace Paley completed this wise and poignant book of poems. Full of memories of friends and family and incisive observations of life in both her beloved hometown, New York City, and rural Vermont, the poems are sober and playful, experimenting with form while remaining eminently readable. They explore the beginnings and ends of relationships, the ties that bind siblings, the workings of dreams, the surreal strangeness of the aging body―all imbued with her unique perspective and voice. Mournful and nostalgic, but also ruefully funny and full of love, Fidelity is Grace Paley's passionate and haunting elegy for the life she was leaving behind.
man he nods his head courteously we know each other our newyorkness Thank God there is no god or we’d all be lost if it is He who sends us howling in murderous despair at torture hatred three or four times a generation there’d be no hope and if He permitted peace to appear then one day great plates of stone beneath the orchards and sea may move slowly against one another earthquake if it is He who built that narrow a bridge across which we are invited to
Let the Day Go This Hill Also by Grace Paley About the Author Copyright To Nora, Danny, and my grandchildren PROVERBS A person’s anger should be respected even when it isn’t shared a person’s happiness should be shared even if it isn’t understood a person should be understood though he has brought both his brows together in anger and also suddenly begun to laugh a person should be in love most of the time this is the last proverb and may be learned by all the organs capable
verb to be again and again and is always interfering with the excited in- dustrious brain wisely the heart’s beat asserts control also the newest English argues with its old singing ancestry it thinks it knows best finally the night’s hard labor peers through the morning window observes snow birds the sun caught in white and black winter birches disentangles itself addresses the ice-cold meadow for hours on the beauty of the color green my heart leaps up when
torrential rain the pepper the basil sitting upright in their little boxes waiting I suppose for me also the cosmos the zinnias nearly blooming a year too late forget it let the day go the sweet green day let it take care of itself THIS HILL this hill crossed with broken pines and maples lumpy with the burial mounds of uprooted hemlocks (hurricane of ’thirty-eight) out of their rotting hearts generations rise trying once more to become the forest just
and men look at men why shouldn’t they size each other up (as we used to say) why isn’t there more of that looking that casual catching of breath in plain appreciation or rejection why isn’t there more of it what old people sometimes ex- perienced as shock and a dangerous heartbeat which sometimes erupted into love at first sight (as it is called to this day) and as old people we must warn it may once in a startling while last forever (as it is called) I MET A