Learning Opportunities Missed
There once was a boy in Pointe Claire
Who in high school would often just stare
When asked any question
He’d say “is that on the test, Mon?”
And his grades took a tumble from there.
How to Write a Poem
First you need a bystander to edge closer.
He needn’t be all that involved in what’s happening.
Indeed, how can he be involved, since
he’s off to one side and not paying attention?
Then you should consult an oracle,
a heart monitor for the wandering mind.
Try to balance the bystander’s bias,
Question its opinion-poll certainties.
But when our thinking mind sets things up,
Assigns place settings, prints invitations,
And determines a compatible social mix,
Somehow our own heart can fall off the guest list.
And the poem–I almost forgot—it
needs to include some kind of feeling
so the head can feel out of its depth, and
the hand can follow a trail into the wilderness.
But then I keep showing up, a take charge kind of guy,
Never backing down—and like our foster kitten,
Who was trained by our dogs to play aggressively—
It’s not clear I’ll ever be adopted.
A claim of ownership
Is like a divorce.
When we say, “This is mine”
The owner and his possession become strangers
The one circumscribed by designation
The other dissatisfied and alone.
Why Time, Space, and Knowledge?
Why not hope, charity and trust?
Why not wisdom, kindness, and balance?
What’s so special about knowledge, about space, about time?
Time: one day we will die, and most of the time this feels like an unpaid parking ticket. If we ever think of it, a mild anxiety is quickly shoved back down. But what if the feeling of being on a run-away 18 wheeler–each moment showing up like the next stretch of highway–could give way to a freedom to fly above mountain tops, to sail across a sea of becoming; where our time—which is our very life—would be given all together, no part lost?
Space: every step of every journey, every urge to engage, to grow and to leave behind limitation and constriction, is also the openness of space calling out to us. What if the feeling of being stuck in unfortunate circumstances could give way to a sense that we and our life are given together with a mysterious medium which intrinsically allows, accommodates, welcomes and is present in every breath?
Knowledge: When the cup of our life is half empty we may not notice that it is also half full. We may offer up a daily prayer: “If it be possible, may this cup pass from me.”–then feel abandoned when nothing seems to change. But what if the empty portion of our cup of knowing was understood to be an invitation to enter unknown regions–of our world, of our character, of our aspirations: an invitation to discover, to explore, and to dive off the high board? What we know sometimes feels like a thin shirt in an artic storm, but what if life is itself a fitting room offering to make any jacket we want? What if we are born to know; and a cosmic knowing is waiting to be invited to join our journey of discovery?