This wonderful morning offering from Wislawa Szymborska, a favorite poem from a favorite poet, speaks so deeply to me that I felt compelled to bring it forward for friends here to consider and possibly revel in, as I have. Although I know nothing of her religious propensities, I have no doubt that Szymborska was a deeply spiritual being. She speaks with deep awareness of the uncharted and often seemingly perilous journey we call "life."
My life is not without its pleasures, and I have had no traumas of immense proportions, other than the loss, as a young adult of my parents, and of my only sibling, my beloved younger brother 10 years ago. But the daily grind (and I'm NOT talking about my morning java ritual LOL) holds few thrills and my efforts at becoming more conscious mentally and spiritually in this crazy world are inconsistent at best. This causes inner turmoil and outer angst.
The weighty issue of my body is getting old (pun intended) and my seeming inability to move out of the never-never Plateau Land is beginning to unnerve me. The semester presses on, with papers, exams, and presentations becoming more frequent and intense and the preparations for an approximate three-month sojourn in my home-away-from-home in South America are upon me. In the midst of all this, feelings of aloneness sometimes crowd in. And then there are the tears and concern about beloveds around me who have problems much more profound than mine, not to mention the suffering all over the world, which truly weighs this Piscean down (see the end of blog for an example).
If the venerable Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh -- who has been through horrors I cannot even imagine -- can say, "The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms," I too can practice peace in the midst of the upheaval, the anxieties, the self-doubt and self-reprisals.
...all this welled up from diving into....
Performance without rehearsal.
Body without alterations.
Head without premeditation.
I know nothing of the role I play.
I only know it's mine. I can't exchange it.
I have to guess on the spot
just what this play's all about.
Ill-prepared for the privilege of living,
I can barely keep up with the pace that the action demands.
I improvise, although I loathe improvisation.
I trip at every step over my own ignorance.
I can't conceal my hayseed manners.
My instincts are for happy histrionics.
Stage fright makes excuses for me, which humiliate me more.
Extenuating circumstances strike me as cruel.
Words and impulses you can't take back,
stars you'll never get counted,
your character like a raincoat you button on the run ?
the pitiful results of all this unexpectedness.
If only I could just rehearse one Wednesday in advance,
or repeat a single Thursday that has passed!
But here comes Friday with a script I haven't seen.
Is it fair, I ask
(my voice a little hoarse,
since I couldn't even clear my throat offstage).
You'd be wrong to think that it's just a slapdash quiz
taken in makeshift accommodations. Oh no.
I'm standing on the set and I see how strong it is.
The props are surprisingly precise.
The machine rotating the stage has been around even longer.
The farthest galaxies have been turned on.
Oh no, there's no question, this must be the premiere.
And whatever I do
will become forever what I've done.
~ Wislawa Szymborska ~
(Poems New and Collected 1957-1997, trans. S. Baranczak and C. Cavanagh)
As always, thanks to Joe Riley, purveyor of fine poetry:
For those who would like to know more about the extraordinary Szymborska, here are two blogs I posted on her :
Here are two tip-of-the-iceberg examples of the source in my sadness in this life:
And THIS is my work and my joy: