4/13/16

When it Comes to Heather McHugh

When it comes to Heather McHugh,

I do not know which to prefer
the extraordinary
work

or the  life

the extraordinary do

or the word.
when it comes
to Heather McHugh,

same sing, blackbird.

 ---


GRANNY'S SONG
               - Heather McHugh 


If the fact itself were not
at odds with most of my hopes
for human life, I'd want
to know why sex was always best
when I stood to lose the most.
Why make its charms so devilishly
proximal to risk?
The patterns ought to favor
children's best protection -- not
one parent hardened and one hurt;
one predator, one weak. But nurturance
appeared to have no part
in our old fastest appetites -- our grappling hooks
and eye-meats. Well, a mortally afflicted tree
will scatter seed. That's nature's way
of furthering its kind. In my own
sixties (here where issue's not the issue --
not unless I go to Delhi for
an embryo implant. and let me tell you
I am not THAT nuts) -- here newly
sixtified, I say, I'd settle for
a kindness: tender looks not
tenterhooks; a cuddle,
not a cattle-prod. Dear God,
you made me pull away from every
club and strut and hoe. Don't now
on my account, sweet chariot,
swing so damn low.

------

Most creatives would use a $500, 000, no-strings attached grant to do something practical for themselves: maybe pay off a mortgage, or fund a research trip, or otherwise enable their next piece of work.  But when the poet Heather McHugh won a MacArthur genius grant in 2009, she used that largess to start an organization called Caregifted, which provides free vacations to caregivers of the severely disabled: