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Leah Fritz At 80



Leah Fritz, British-based, American-born, Poet and Writer, is 80 today!  That's wonderful news.  Fritz has been an active, popular presence on the London poetry scene for long before I arrived here in 2003 - and was one of the first to welcome me when I arrived.  She is funny, acerbic, brilliant, and an excellent judge of what makes a good poem.  Her poetry collections include From Cookie to Witch Is an Old Story (1987) and Going, Going... (2007).  Her works on feminism included Thinking Like A Woman (1975) and Dreamers & Dealers: An Intimate Appraisal of the Women's Movement (1980).  Andrea Dworkin's classic, Intercourse, is dedicated to Leah.  Her New and Selected Poems is out from Salmon, in Ireland, in 2012, which is more cause for celebration.  I offer the following poem of hers, below, as a gift to Eyewear's readers (with thanks to poetry pf).



Whatever Sends the Music Into Time

Whatever sends the music into time,
not just in metre but through centuries,
Mozart years of sound, the flat stone skipped
across the glassy surface of that fourth
transparency; whatever it may be,
code as tight as DNA or heavenly gift,
 
perhaps a curse, but if a curse a gift
for some poor devil in the mind of time –
what I am getting at, it cannot be
within one’s sole control – the centuries
roll back, old ground uncovered, a fourth
of history returns, the rest is skipped
 
to be revealed again when more is skipped
under the stone where earth’s most treasured gift
lies buried waiting the tiller’s bringing forth
each truth in its appointed (random) time.
And so the influence of centuries
gone by foreshadows what is yet to be.
 
But here I am concerned with what will be
when my pen, across the pages skipped,
auditions for its place in centuries.
How does a poet hint for such a gift
and to whom? Mother of future time, 
where do I seek you? In Einstein’s fourth
 
dimension? Or in myself, which can give forth
such music as I have? Let it be 
enough for me and mine in our own time.
About that time – about the days I skipped
through city leaves, thinking the sun a gift
immeasurable, no thought of centuries,
 
no knowledge then of years (of centuries
and histories, less intimation): if forth
from infancy comes all there is of gift,
struggle though I may; if it should be
my name in that long heritage is skipped
for one less happy in her own true time,
 
I think the music that I hear must be
enough, the other vanity well skipped.
Sufficient beauty is there in my time.
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