A Poem to Share

This year of track driving has ended. Losses and gains. The new season will bring inevitable change. On this insistently cold afternoon there sits an aching in my soul.

Imagining days with air drenched heavy in the smell of rubber and brake pads ahead, I try shoo-ing the unpleasantness away. But, like a cocktail party blowhard, it doesn’t know when to quit and just follows me around the room.  It’s a hollowness that echoes into itself, then magnifies, and is different from the usual soul-sapping holiday dread.

Fortunately, as it so often does, my brain trips upon a thought or a drop of rain or perhaps just a thin wafer of memory about something already forgotten and gently slips into remembering a poem once read.

The gift of re-reading it does partially cushion the echo, ushering the blowhard outside temporarily. With your permission, I share it below.

Turn 1 at Sebring International Raceway: the apex is marked by the cone atop a fence-post. Photo copied from Rennlist thread on Turn 1 and 7. The PCA SunCoast Region hosted a DE with track walk at Sebring in November 2016.

by Cesare Pavese*
Translated by Geoffrey Brock

Rain will fall again
on your smooth pavement,
a light rain like
a breath or a step.
The breeze and the dawn
will flourish again
when you return,
as if beneath your step.
Between flowers and sills
the cats will know.
There will be other days,
there will be other voices.
You will smile alone.
The cats will know.
You will hear words
old and spent and useless
like costumes left over
from yesterday’s parties.
You too will make gestures.
You’ll answer with words—
face of springtime,
you too will make gestures.
The cats will know,
face of springtime;
and the light rain
and the hyacinth dawn
that wrench the heart of him
who hopes no more for you—
they are the sad smile
you smile by yourself.
There will be other days,
other voices and renewals.
Face of springtime,
we will suffer at daybreak.

I do wish I owned a cat or two. And I so detest the stainless-steel canopied winter sky today. But I do feel the poem in my body, along with the scratchiness of my wool skirt, and the warming knee boots under my desk where the space-heater cozily emits a constant toasty purr. A lifetime of learning that through suffering comes compassion and growth. So, today in my heart I can almost believe that better track days lie ahead.

*“The Cats Will Know” appears in Cesare Pavese’s collection Disaffections: Complete Poems 1930-1950 (Copper Canyon Press, 2002). Cesare Pavese (1908 –1950) was an Italian poet, novelist, literary critic and translator. In his home country, he is widely considered among the major authors of the 20th century. (Source: wikipedia.org.)

2 thoughts on “A Poem to Share

    1. Hi Lauren
      Sorry I missed you at Daytona. It was a bit of a time crunch with my car undergoing repairs and I was crewing for my mentor who was racing. Pls email me your text contact. I’ll reach out when I’m
      In Florida next. xoxo FDM


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