Why do I keep trying to understand
the list of many things that I do
not? I carry around a fifty-
one-year-old weathered scroll
inked with a variety of unknowns.
Some, once understood—now
not. Many new, others ever-
changing. The list
grows. If “life is what happens when you are making
other plans,” why plan?
Why do traits that attract
turn into reasons to leave?
Is life alone settling,
fate, or just giving up
on the game? Why use the word
forever when nothing is?
How can a lifestyle choice threaten
others? How is walking in rain
therapy to some, yet loathed by many?
How do crows know I am
a friend, though I wasn’t always?
How does a special animal change
a person’s life? What do you do
when they go? Why do tough
people sometimes betray the code
and cry? Why do some become monsters
instead of protecting
their children? Can the kindness
of an outsider make enough
difference? Why does the pain remain
when the damage is long
gone? How do butterflies
know to show up when you need
them? If writing can be an antidote
for depression, can it lead
to understanding? Is philosophy
a gift, or an over-thought
burden? Destiny, obligation
calling (words that are larger
than life) can you really
see them coming?
Herman Hesse wrote:
I have been and still am a seeker,
but I have ceased to question
stars and books; I have begun
to listen to the teaching my blood
whispers to me.
Was there an event that opened
his eyes to this
realization or is it the wisdom
of a tired traveler?
When is it okay to let go
of questions and simply embrace?
The surprises never
end. Perhaps it’d be healthier to lean
back: let the bad be curses
and the good, magic.
This poem started with my piece Why from the “Write to Understand” writing workshop taught by friend Matt Love on December 10th 2016 in Astoria, Oregon and evolved over time thanks to the help from another writer friend of mine Tara Hardy .
Why do I keep trying to understand the list of many things that I do not. I carry around a fifty-one year old scroll of weathered paper inked with a variety of unknowns. Some once understood – now not. Many new, others ever-changing. The list grows…
If “Life is what happens when you are making other plans” – why plan
Why do traits that attract – become reasons to leave
How is walking in rain therapy to some – yet loathed by many
How does a special animal change a person’s life – what do you do when they go
Why does pain remain when the damage is long gone
How do butterflies know to show up when you need them
If writing can be an antidote for Depression – can it help with Understanding
Destiny, Obligation, Calling (words that are larger than life) – can you really see them coming
Herman Hesse wrote, “I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.”
Was there an event that opened his eyes to this realization or is it the wisdom of a tired traveler? When is it okay to let go of questions and simply embrace?
The surprises never end. Perhaps it’d be healthier to lean back: let the bad be curses and the good magic.
As always I learned while enjoying my day at the “Write to Understand” writing workshop on December 10th 2016.
Matt Love lives and teaches in Astoria, Oregon.
James is on a ladder painting – Jesse and his dog Steve walk up the driveway.
Jesse: Place is looking better, nothing like a fresh coat of paint.
James: Yeah, thanks – better everyday.
Jesse: You ever go to the _______ coffee shop?
James: Yeah, I like how the strong smell of coffee hits you as the squeaky door opens. Walking across the old hardwood floor sounds like my back in the morning. I usually sit in the tall chair in the corner and stare out at the coastline.
Jesse: Nice gal works there.
James: Yeah, always been nice to me.
Jesse is looking over at James’ motorcycle in the driveway.
Jesse: Your motorcycle is loud. Turns back to watching James paint.
Jesse: Someone beat up her dad.
Jesse: How do you know?
James: We’ve had talks about titles like ‘Father’, ‘Dad’, ‘Stepdad.’ Often earned, sometimes just taken – others abused.
Jesse: Someone beat up her Stepdad, he’s still in the hospital.
James: Anyone care?
Jesse: Oh his wife probably does. But most everyone else thinks he used to molest his daughter – stepdaughter.
James: No. Anyone care about motorcycle noise?
Jesse: Haven’t heard any complaints, lately.
Jesse is walking back toward his car with Steve.
Jesse: It seems easier for you to paint when you use your right hand.
James: Yeah, just trying to balance things out a bit.
When time holds its hand over the mouth of a life, what do you do
Dust off memories
Find old pictures
Focus on moments – Gone
Seize every moment
Live while you can
Do it quickly…
Time will strike again.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something–your gut, destiny, life and karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” -Steve Jobs