To understand what I am going to tell you, you need to know that my parents were scientists and that my mother’s mind had a decidedly unpoetic bent. Nonetheless, they read me poems from the time I was very young because they paid attention to what gladdened my spirit.
Near the end of my mother’s life such gladness was mostly a thing of the past. She was living with us as we tried, inadequately, to cope with the ravages of Parkinson’s disease. Her conversation took strange turns. Although her legs barely moved, her brain bundled her off on hallucinogenic journeys. Thankfully, she always came back and knew who we were. In fact, I regret that at times she saw all too clearly how stressed-out I was. “Are you writing?” friends would ask. “Are you crazy?” I felt like yelling.