Time to Di-verse-ify

Today is the first day of National Poetry Month! Rejoice!

Those of you who have been following the blog for a while know that every April I post wonderful, accessible poems to help us all remember that poetry can be more than something we suffer through in English class and then forget about. The poetry that speaks to us is our deepest connection to language, the closest words ever get to the unsayable.

I spent much of this past week stuck in my own thinking and annoyed with myself for being stuck. It seemed I would never progress past this particular way of engaging with myself and the world. Because thinking about your thinking is of course the best way to stop.

There are so many thought loops that I’m both tired of and apparently unwilling to give up. Here’s a poem by Jan Richardson that I find full of hope for this situation. It reminds me that life and spirit are always moving whether I happen to recognize it at the moment or not. And they’re moving in us.

Richardson’s blog, The Painted Prayerbook, features beautiful original artworks with each poem.

Risen
For Easter Day

If you are looking
for a blessing,
do not linger
here.

Here
is only
emptiness,
a hollow,
a husk
where a blessing
used to be.

This blessing
was not content
in its confinement.

It could not abide
its isolation,
the unrelenting silence,
the pressing stench
of death.

So if it is
a blessing
you seek,
open your own
mouth.

Fill your lungs
with the air
this new
morning brings

and then
release it
with a cry.

Hear how the blessing
breaks forth
in your own voice,

how your own lips
form every word
you never dreamed
to say.

See how the blessing
circles back again,
wanting you to
repeat it,
but louder,

how it draws you,
pulls you,
sends you
to proclaim
its only word:

Risen.
Risen.
Risen.

—Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace

Thanks for This and That

Whoever decided we should set aside time every year to pause and indulge in a little gratitude was really, really smart. Here is my annual list of a few of this year’s gifts.

I am grateful for how easy my life is and for knowing that life is so much more than ease.

I am grateful that practically the entire wealth of human knowledge is at our fingertips for the price of an Internet connection and that all the knowledge in the world is not worth as much as the smile of a child or an old friend.

I am grateful for moments of exquisite beauty and for the strange truth that, if we pay attention, the welling up of creation can be found even in those places we might usually consider least beautiful.

I am grateful for meals at fancy restaurants and for scrambled eggs on nights when I haven’t gone shopping.

I am grateful for all the ways to stay in touch with friends and family who are distant and for the times we gather in person.

I am grateful for times of high excitement and great good cheer and for times of quiet and rest.

I am grateful for old friends and those I’ve just met.

I am grateful that things pass away, that the seasons turn, that new life comes into being and that we are all, somehow, always both letting go and becoming new.

And of course I am grateful for chocolate.


Note: The blog and I will be on vacation next week. Happy Thanksgiving!