Sunday, August 6, 2017

In Passing

Unless I was in a new place
or experiencing something I perceived as extraordinary,
I’d breeze right by.
I’d go on with my day, eyes on my to-do lists,
to the—ordinary—splendor around me.

Cultivating creativity for me began with
paying attention,
even to the mundane, commonplace and boring.

In order to write poetry
I needed to be alive,
alive to both my external and internal surroundings,
 to everything from the inside of a flower to the inside of my heart.

I had to learn to use my senses,
savor the spices in my supper,
one tiny bite at a time,
smell the rain (and maybe even taste it),
look at the angles of a room,
at the angles of a face,
stare at the sky,
linger longer at the library,
feeling a book’s firm spine,
running my fingers over my favorite words,
and catch conversations in cafes, grocery stores and doctor's offices.

I had to begin peeling back the layers,
one by one,
of big and small things,
of love, lunch, lackluster emotions, early mornings.

I had to learn to capture the nuances of everything
from a stranger's perfume to a slice of apple pie.

I was never trained as a poet.
I've never taken poetry lessons.
I've never had workshops.
Nobody taught me anything,
really much.

But I think poets didn't come out of a classroom,
that poetry began when somebody walked out of a cave
and looked up at the sky with wonder
and said, Ahhh.

To pay attention,
I simply get curious,
curious about everything.
I ask questions.
All kinds of questions.

Thus is my time on earth filled with glory.

Intently looking and listening
boosts my life.
The moment I give close attention to anything,
a tree, a flower, a leaf, a bug,
it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.

And, thankfully, all of us have this ability.
All we need to do is open our eyes
and pay attention.

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