Feeling lucky. There’s a lot of poetry showing up in my life these days. One way is a class I joined a couple of months ago at the Bernal Heights Public Library, called OWL, for Older Writers Laboratory. I mentioned this group in my Nov. 30th response to Lorene. My friend Anita’s been going for awhile and told me about it. I’m really glad I started going. Though more people are involved, approximately 12-22 show up on any given Monday afternoon. A couple of men, the rest women, mostly in their 60s and 70s. For the first hour, a handful of people – who wish to – read their poems and get feedback. The second hour is devoted to creating new or revising old poems with a variety of skillful “prompts” from the teacher.
The poem I’m sharing with you today I wrote a couple of weeks ago after one of these classes. Last Monday was a “revision” day, so I worked on the poem further. Is it ready to be “born” into the light of day (read — cyberday)? I don’t know. I have qualms, judgements, comparing mind. I do have a perfectionist streak in me that goes along quite nicely with a judging mind. I want to advise against it. If you have a choice.
In the meantime, I get to keep practicing kindness and compassion, and being in community. I hope you’ll consider participating in our Dharma Road community with a poem of your own and/or some responses to others’.
Here is my poem:
On Listening to Good Poems
Though a clever turn of phrase can spark my admiration,
cleverness is not what I long for…
Rather… deeper listening,
a certain naked defenselessness, vulnerable, powerful
a single blade of grass pushing through cement
Aware… of its place in this universe without remorse or
need for greater significance
On comparing… the blade of grass… small,
though larger than viruses, bacteria, or protozoa
vibrant green, spiked with definitive borders
On reflection… a life span of… what? hours? days?
Declaring itself arrived no matter the boot heel about to land.
What are the odds of any of it?
A tiny blade of grass pushing through cement
wondrous, no less, perhaps more than the cleverest king, or poet
And yet… when a person speaks or writes words that pierce
the protective shield of our everyday armor
and moves our heart/mind into a shared appreciation of the tiniest —
The mind quiets
The heart opens
Longing for some thing else ceases
And… joy ascends