Dear Friends,

Thanks to all of you who wrote in response to last week’s blog. Rest assured, I am not about to change my direction–I don’t direct my direction. As Theodore Roethke said once, “I learn by going where I have to go.”  And since I’m aging, growing older, my poetry just naturally . . .

Your responses hearten me. They give me courage.

This past week I visited with an old friend, she’s 90 this year, in a parking lot of a grocery store in the rain about growing old and dying. She and her much younger friend both said what you all said, Don’t stop telling the truth about our lives and this life. Not to worry. I won’t.

A couple of people pointed out that the USA is a death-denying culture. Another said There is a tendency . . . to pretend we are not subject to aging and dying and we turn away from embracing this part of life. Ain’t it da troof! We are all caught up in the youth cult until we get old enough to understand that can’t be for us anymore.

Another person said, I share a common thread with your poems and celebrate that you put your and our fears [of dying and death]–and our amusement at the aging process–into words.

Yet another person said, [A] Happy Life is a life of acceptance. Resistance does not postpone the inevitable.

One person said, I’m in my 50s and find it very comforting to have a scout out ahead. It’s fun to think of myself as a scout out ahead there somewhere trying to find the trail. I never thought of my job in those terms.

Another person said, Hey what about the blues– isn’t that blue–‘down’ stuff really uplifting in the end?, which made me think of a note I wrote in 2010 for my latest play, A SONG FOR MY FATHER. Here are portions of it:

A Program Note




David Budbill

I was talking to a woman years ago and I said something about being blue and she said, “What if you never get the blues?” If you never get the blues, this play is not for you. If you’ve never had any conflicts with your parents, or watched helplessly as the parents you love grew old and died, if you’ve never felt guilty about anything, this play is not for you. But if you’ve had these experiences, these feelings, or if you can imagine them, then, I hope, A SONG FOR MY FATHER is a play you can relate to.

If you get the blues then you know how much better playing, singing or listening to the blues can make you feel. My goal with this play was to write a blues song, a song for my father, which would do what the blues do: look straight in the face of the way things are. . . .

A SONG FOR MY FATHER . . . is meant to do what Greek tragedies did for the ancient Greeks. It’s meant to release in you powerful feelings of sadness, foreboding and grief and in the process, like the blues, make you feel better, refreshed, lighter, happier.

Thanks to you all. More next week.

Sincerely, David Budbill