Editor's Note Section
൪uartet - Fall Issue 2023 Volume 3 Issue 3
In our father’s greenhouse, the scent
of marigolds, we sat transplanting with Felicia,
from the Research Farm, who came
at rush times to help. Her eyes reached me
before her story, heard years on:
how in Poland she had been raped again, again
by German soldiers; how she had wanted
to become a nun, but felt too defiled.
Transplanting, unaware, we sensed
only a glad shyness, her care for the fine,
fragile roots of infant flowers. Now,
decades later, one April week we each
recall Felicia. Sal hears her contractor
speaking to the plumber in Polish. Nan reads
reports of the Russians in Ukraine.
And in my neighbor’s hoop house, as I pick
the crisp green fragrant leaves of young
spinach, I see in my worn hands
hers. Our three lives, our separate
timings of sprout and blossom—Felicia
finds us. We say her name.
I love the way a single poem can be like a fruiting body for a whole mycorrhizal web of questions and influences.
When Jan Hutchinson, in one of her daily prompts for the month of April, suggested writing about three of something, I arrived at an early three-ness in my life: the three sisters of whom I am eldest. As it unfolded, the poem found its way to something in our ongoing conversation.
When I discovered the odd coincidence of all of us thinking about Felicia, a Polish refugee, I thought of poet Martha Collins, who encourages us to explore the ways war or sexism or racism have been felt in our own lives. (For example, in many of her own poems Martha has explored her “white” family’s participation in deeply-ingrained conventional racism.) I have never been a soldier on active duty—but my life has been full of the shadow of war, its impact on my family, other families, refugees. So much need in our world—not directly connected to war—goes unmet because of war’s terrible appetite.
In the years since I knew Felicia, so much has happened. I wish I could speak with her now, adult to adult. As I grow older, I feel vividly how a poem, or a grouping of poems, can be a conversation among chapters in a poet’s life, stitching together several selves. I’m so grateful to watch that in the work of poet friends; grateful for that stitching in my own.
൪uartet is an online poetry journal that features the work of women 50 and over.
To view our issues and submission guidelines, please visit www.quartetjournal.com .