Thursday, January 28

Talking to Ourselves

Blogging is joining in a many-sided conversation with dear invisible friends, each in our own private echo chamber ... and sometimes blogging is a lot like talking to ourselves …

Click on the play icon below to hear Garrison Keillor recite the poem Talking to Ourselves by Philip Schultz:

Talking to Ourselves
by Philip Schultz

A woman in my doctor's office last week
couldn't stop talking about Niagara Falls,
the difference between dog and deer ticks,
how her oldest boy, killed in Iraq, would lie
with her at night in the summer grass, singing
Puccini. Her eyes looked at me but saw only
the saffron swirls of the quivering heavens.

Yesterday, Mr. Miller, our tidy neighbor,
stopped under our lopsided maple to explain
how his wife of sixty years died last month
of Alzheimer's. I stood there, listening to
his longing reach across the darkness with
each bruised breath of his eloquent singing.

This morning my five-year-old asked himself
why he'd come into the kitchen. I understood
he was thinking out loud, personifying himself,
but the intimacy of his small voice was surprising.

When my father's vending business was failing,
he'd talk to himself while driving, his lips
silently moving, his black eyes deliquescent.
He didn't care that I was there, listening,
what he was saying was too important.

"Too important," I hear myself saying
in the kitchen, putting the dishes away,
and my wife looks up from her reading
and asks, "What's that you said?"
"Talking to Ourselves" by Philip Schultz, from Failure. © Harcourt, 2007.
From Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac for 18 January 2010

Photos from Onexposure ( Top: Silence is – by ambra. Bottom: 7 – by ZKP


  1. Talkin' to myself and feelin' old...

    Actually, I do talk to myself a lot in this big old empty nest. Love Keillor. Love the poem.

  2. Hi, willow -- can a blog fill an empty nest? Or at least pad and brighten it up? You magpies are known for always bringing someting nice and shiny back to the nest.

  3. Well, actually, my nest is quite full of shiny bric a brac, both the tangible kind and intangible. But with the kids all grown, the pets all gone and a traveling spouse, it does seem a bit empty, at times. The blog does brighten it up a bit!

  4. Oh, man--love his voice, and he's so enamoured of poetry, which makes me love him all the more. I met him once and he was the nicest man.

  5. Meant to say also--wonderful selection!


"Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods" — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Go ahead, leave a comment. The gods can holler a bit if they have to ...