So, after dating that entire school year, Zac then left to serve a mission for The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for 2 years. As is the case with missionaries, we knew that our only contact for those 2 yrs would be weekly letters and sometimes tape recordings mailed to each other. That's it. I spent that summer working long days as a packer for a moving company, which was miserable, and then I returned to college 3 months after Zac had left. And I found myself wandering sad and lonely around the campus where I had previously spent almost every waking hour with him. It was a really hard time for me. I was still an English Major at the time, and in one of my literature anthologies, I ran across this poem, which is quoted in my journal, August 29, 1994:
by W.S. Merwin
Your absence has gone through me
like thread through a needle
everything I do is stitched with its color
This poem impacted me so deeply, I decided I was in love with W.S. Merwin (or something like that). And I decided to do my 10-pg research paper for one of my English classes on his writings. And I posted his picture on my wall and looked at his face everyday for 3 months (or whatever it was) to keep me thinking about doing my research. It was somewhat motivating.
I felt attached to him. I spent a lot of time thinking about him (and reading his poetry). And I spent even more time contemplating how precisely this poem described how I was feeling at the time. I never did discover who it was exactly that he had been separated from, or under what circumstances. But it was clear to me that he knew this feeling well.
Anyway, in trying to find a picture of him online, I also discovered that he is the US Poet Laureate for 2010-2011 (he is now 82 yrs old)! Timely, I suppose, that I am re-reading the journal time period when I was obsessed with this poem of his.