Carol Hamilton: “Diary Keeping”

Diary Keeping

Pepys gave up his habit,
aging, for fear it caused
his growing blindness.
At the end of his days
the significance of ink was,
he said, an early death for him.
I kept diaries from 4th grade
through one year of college.
As a child, I read
my wildly-spelled words
to trapped victims at family gatherings.
I copied in and blacked out
“love” notes from little boys
with my many shifts of mood.
I was voluminous with ink,
stuffing extra pages
into the 5-year diaries
so that locks and tiny keys
were useless. Older, my markings
spewed over into letters,
many and long.

My mother saved boxes
of my verbiage, words that now
walk me through forgotten days.
My long-ago chronicles send
me reliving past joys
without the worries, anxieties,
lead me into a stand-still time
formed of the banal
and the extra-ordinary.
My lineal life circles and circles
round and round, endless cycle,
even as the ancients told
and even as Pepys’ ink endures.


Carol Hamilton has recent publications in Southwestern American Literature, Bluestem, Cold Mountain Review, Commonweal, Common Ground, Louisiana Review, Birmingham Literary Arts, Broad River Review, Louisiana Literature, Haight-Ashbury Poetry Review, U.S. 1 Worksheets, and others. She has published 17 books. She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma.


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