University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The Literature Collection

Page View

Owens, Elisabeth, R. (ed.) / Encore: more of parallel press poets

Elder, Karl
Negative capability,   pp. 25-27

Page 25

Negative Capability 
   for Marion Stocking 
Wife off to work, I awaken late, punch on CNN, 
make the bed, hear in the background 
of the movement for the canonization of Padre Pio. 
It's not the bleeding, not the power of healing. 
It's he's said to have had the capacity 
of being in more than one place at once, 
out distancing, I think, the Road Runner maybe, 
who, had I satellite on a Sunday morning, 
might be up there on a couple of channels, 
and I think of both my sons, now grown, out on their own, 
yet on my mind. Downstairs on the kitchen counter, 
I'm able to predict, any list of what needs to be fixed 
is nixed. Neither is it like Bill's note to Bess with plums 
gone from the icebox. "Happy Father's Day," the note 
will say. "Decide where you want to go out to eat." 
Mile and a half into the morning's walk 
I stop at a painted turtle trying to climb the curb, 
three legs swimming the air, only to pivot 
and fall back. Years ago I would have carried him home 
to my kids. Why now do I not stoop to rescue, 
as if I believed the revolving earth and chance 
a better caretaker? On a bookshelf in the Vatican 
there are six bound volumes in support of the beatification 
of Padre Pio. If my inertia were but one page of that 
we might say of the father he was a quack, 
not that anyone says this father was a quack. 
I've twice tried mass, in fact. Which is pretty good 
for a Protestant, I'd bet, a former Protestant, that is- 
"Methodist" stamped in tin and strung on my key chain, 
the one thing I kept the Army gave me-complete 

Go up to Top of Page