A Poetry Tea for the Departed

The day is Sunday, the time is 4 to 6 p.m., the place is 93 Merchants Path in Sagaponack at the studio of Hans Van de Bovenkamp

A high tea in woodsy Sagaponack north of the highway on the property of a sculptor of some note might be enough of a draw. But add in the poetry of the recently departed as read by other poets, accented by a live performance of jazz and blues, the enticement of sandwiches and pastries, and what’s more, some potent fruit of the vine courtesy of a vineyard, Wolffer, just down the road, and now you’re talking an honest-to-goodness happening.

The day is Sunday, the time is 4 to 6 p.m., the place is 93 Merchants Path at the studio of Hans Van de Bovenkamp, the music is by OCDC (that would be Cynthia Daniels and Sarah Greene), and the poems to be read are the work of Robert Long, who was an editor and art critic at The Star, Antje Katcher, whose last, posthumous collection was “Catechism,” Diana Chang, and Siv Cedering, who was married to Mr. Van de Bovenkamp. 

The readers will be Fran Castan, a Long Island Poet of the Year not long ago, Canio Pavone, the founder of Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor, Janice Bishop, and Carol Sherman of East Hampton, who just came out with a new book of poetry, “Adios, San Miguel.” 

The afternoon has been organized by Virginia Walker, who lives on Shelter Island and teaches English and humanities at Suffolk Community College. She and a fellow poet, the late Michael Walsh, wrote “Neuron Mirror” together, and copies will be given to those who attend. The collection raised money for the Lustgarten Foundation’s research into a cure for pancreatic cancer. Admission to the reading is $20, also to benefit the Lustgarten Foundation.

Seating is limited. R.S.V.P.s, due by tomorrow, are being taken at 631-749-2394 or by email at vwsipoet@optonline.net. 

And now for a taste of the meat of the matter, “Poem for My Mother,” by Ms. Cedering:

Remember when I draped
the ruffled cotton cape
around your shoulders,
turned off the lights
and stood behind your chair,
brushing, brushing your hair.

The friction of the brush
in the dry air
of that small inland town
created stars that flew
as if God himself was there
in the small space 
between my hands and your hair.

Now we live on separate coasts
of a foreign country.
A continent stretches between us.
You write of your illness,
your fear of blindness.
You say you wake afraid
to open your eyes.

Mother, if some morning
you open your eyes to see
daylight as a dark room around you,
I will drape a ruffled cotton cape
around your shoulders
and stand behind your chair,
brushing the stars out of your hair.