Rachel Hadas lives in New York City, works in Newark, and keeps a home -- with a part of her heart -- near us in Vermont. She phoned last night to say she's planning a longer Vermont stay for 2008, and to give a heads-up for tomorrow's edition of Keillor's The Writer's Almanac on public radio. Keillor will read a poem from Hadas' most recent collection, THE RIVER OF FORGETFULNESS -- the poem "I.D. Photo."
If you don't have time to tune in, you'll be able to hear the poem anyway once tomorrow arrives, at writersalmanac.publicradio.org. Or read it today:
Since I can feel my radiant nature shine
Out of my face as unmistakably
As sunlight, it comes as a shock to see
The features that apparently are mine.
Mirrors are not a lot of fun to pass,
And snapshots are much worse. Take the I.D.
Picture taken only yesterday
(Take it-I don't want it): sallow face
Pear-shaped from smiling-lumpy anyway,
Droopy, squinty. General discouragement.
I'd blame the painter, if this were in paint,
But can't avoid acknowledging it's me,
No likeness by an artist I could blame
For being bad at matching in with out.
What I see, alas, is what I get.
Victim and culprit are myself and time—
Having seen which, it's time to turn aside;
Look out from, not in at, an aging face
That happens to be mine. No more disgrace
Lies in having lived then having died.