Sunday, November 30, 2014

Poem: Ties

I wrote this a while ago, but I've been thinking about it this weekend. I've started to get a little energy back lately and I really, really, really want to make some changes in our lives. I want to stop being so crazy busy eighteen hours a day, seven days a week. There's only one catch--I can't see how.

And until I can figure out how to change it, our life simply is what it is. Kind of like this poem I wrote back when. It meanders a bit, but that's kind of the point.

Sunny Sunday morning
Warmth in irregular
Squares on the carpet
Children sprawled coloring
Dog napping on guard
Poetry playing notes

Steam puffs from the iron
The crooked made straight
As my hands work on
My mind runs free
In separation and conjunction

The divergent tracks
Of my life crash together
A phrase, a measure
Calls forth tears
Spotting my work
Giving me pause

Forty years is not so long
These hands are young
In their work, too young
For my heart to surrender
For my soul to crave rest
For my life to be a chore

Mindlessly, I count—
As I do when bored
Or enduring—
The stops and stations of my trek
Thirty-three times three times 365
Setting the table—so what?

Twenty-seven times 365
Making lunch
That’s fine, really.
Vacuuming fifty-two times twenty-five
Plus more than a few…
Sounds good.

Fourteen times five
Dress shirts pressed, less a few
Plus pants—
My mind snaps back
To now
No need for dispensation

Blessed, privileged
My daily bread abundant
I live the American life
And I want to die to it
I want the peace
Of ending the endless

I do not choose this time
And this place, this race
I choose rest by a
Sun-dappled stream
Birdsong, hidden treasures
Children’s laughter

Warm, long-cooked meals
Full, rich nights of sleep
The joy of creation
The peace of making
The pleasure of adding
My craft to our home

Colorful cushions
Music that moves
Stories we share
The peace that opens hearts
And lifts eyes to meet
In shared truth

All that I’ve pushed aside
Dubbed optional, expendable
For the grim satisfaction
Of getting the job done
All that I let go is everything
That I want of life

Exhausted, shaken, I gaze
At the trainwreck in dull wonder
Which track leads away?
Which cars carry weight?
What to salvage? What to scrap?
What do I do?

What do I know how to do?
What do I want to do?
What if I do nothing?
Which question do I answer?
Somewhere under these iron weights
My heart beats, tired and stubborn.

“There was nothing to do, but always the next thing to be done.” Tehanu, Ursula LeGuin

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