Okay, so I have something a little different to share with you today. It seems like it’s two poems, but really it’s two poems that lead to a little challenge that I hope you’ll help me out with. The poems are very different from each other, but are both about questions. For this poem, please note especially verse #7 and onward.
if you move carefully
through the forest
like the ones
in the old stories
who could cross
a shimmering bed of dry leaves
without a sound,
to a place
whose only task
is to trouble you
but frightening requests
conceived out of nowhere
but in this place
beginning to lead everywhere.
Requests to stop what
you are doing right now,
to stop what you
while you do it,
that can make
that have patiently
waited for you,
that have no right
to go away.
David Whyte, Everything is Waiting for You
And here is another poem (and one I like better) about questions! This poem is more human somehow, or more everyday, more tangible. It respects the fact that we all have questions, respects them enough to write about them, but puts them in the context of something quite ordinary–washing the floors. See what you think, and then see below for my challenge/request to you.
Questions in the Mind of a Young Poet as She Washes Her Floors
Will obedience leave me alone to myself, stranded?
Is it enough for me to know where I’m from?
If I do more truth-telling will I be happy with what I say?
If I had three days to live will I still be sensible?
Is the break between my feelings and my memory
the reason I’m unable to sustain rage?
Am I a peninsula slowly turning into an island?
If I grew up gazing at the ocean would I think
life came in waves?
If I were a nomad would I measure time
by the length of a footstep?
If I can see a cup drop to the floor and shatter
why can’t I see it gather itself back together?
If a surgeon cut out my mistakes
would the scar be under my heart?
How much time will I spend protecting myself
from what the people I love call love?
Would my desires feel different if I lived forever?
Will my desires destroy my politics?
Is taboo sex the ultimate aphrodisiac?
If I fall in love with the wrong person
how do I learn to un-in love myself?
Can I make my intuition a diving rod?
Is music the closest I can get to God?
How many of these questions will remain
when I kneel to wash my floor again?
What I’m hoping is that each of you will send me your craziest, wildest, most pressing, most confusing, etc., questions about your lives. They DO NOT have to be “smart” or any unhelpful judgment like that. They can be ANYTHING! You can do it!
You can send the anonymously to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. And in response, I will make this question the subject of my next post (again, anonymously of course).