It’s messy, all of it—the all-day misty rain that threatens to turn to ice in a few hours, the fact that Middle spent the last day of school before break lying on the couch miserable with strep throat and missing everything she had looked forward to all week. The list of goodies I still want to make before Christmas (sandbakkels, anise kringle, peppermint meltaways, more fudge, more toffee, more rum balls—is there time, though?) the presents to wrap, the presents to buy still!, the cards I haven’t even thought of sending. The fact that I still, after a month, haven’t figured out how to add or remember a 20-minute nebulizer treatment to my morning schedule. The muscle under my left eye that has been twitching since mid-November.
I can step back and look at the big picture and know that it is Good. Really Good. But holy crap is it messy, and yes I have my head in the clouds most of the time, but my feet are still slogging through the mess. And slogging doesn’t lend itself to feeling graceful or light or—I don’t know—successful at walking the path one is on.
So when Youngest asked me at breakfast this morning, “Mom, does poetry matter to you?” her question was light itself. Because yes it matters, and I love that she asked.
She is reading a book called Poetry Matters. “I learned that you can write poems about anything. Even about your life!” she informed me.
Now she wants a new diary, in order to fill it with poems about whatever she wants.
I can’t decide: sometimes poetry seems to be light itself, other times it seems like a holding up to the light. That I can’t decide makes me think it is both.
What I am sure of is that poetry has a whole lot to do with the messiness of life, and about pulling bits from the mess—whatever bits you choose—in order to bring them into the light or to shine light onto something else. I like that they do not need to be large, and honestly, I’m not sure they even need to be put into words always. It is the finding, and holding up, and sharing that are the important part, and how personal-but-also-outside-of-yourself that is. It is life-giving.
Look back after a while, and see what accumulates.
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