Thursday, September 6, 2007

In Memorium: Grace Paley

I met Grace Paley--activist, teacher, former state poet, feminist extraordinaire, lover of life--when she spoke on a panel I had organized in the early 1990s. I was in my early twenties. She seemed ageless. Grace Paley was magnificent, humble, and real.

Robin Morgan wrote a beautiful tribute to Paley's life, invoking Paley's signature style, for the Women's Media Center. The New York Times obituary is here. And, for those who have yet to have hear it and for those who already miss it, you can still listen to her voice here, on NPR.

Here are two of my favorites, from her New and Collected Poems:

1. My dissent is cheer / a thankless disposition / first as the morning star / my ambition: good luck / and why not a flight / over the wide dilemma / and then good night to sad forever.

2. A stranger calling a dog whistled / and I came running though I am not an afghan / or a highclass poodle and not much like a city boy's dog with a happy wild tail and red eyes / The stranger said excuse me, I was calling my dog not you / Ah I replied to this courteous explanation / Sometimes I whistle too but mostly for fear of missing the world I am a dog to whistlers.

We'll be whistling for you, Grace.

No comments: