Sometimes on long walks I write poems in my head. When I get home, I try to scribble them down madly before I lose them again. For many reasons, I’m pretty sure my neighbors think I’m an absolute nut, but probably the fact that on certain days I walk down the street in complete revery, forming out loud stanzas, really cements it.
This is walk-born poem, simple in verse but heartfelt in message:
Footstep after footstep, crunching after crunching, I walk.
Down the front steps, through the winding driveway, and out onto the street.
It’s dusk. That velvety time when the sky’s a watercolor of brilliant light and yet the ground and trees grow ever darker.
I slip off my sandals, because I can never really feel a moment with my shoes on.
The pavement’s cold. The acorns prick. But that’s part of it, and so I welcome it.
I glance through windows as I pass, catching snippets of others’ life.
There’s a son embracing his mother over the kitchen sink, and she’s smiling deep.
There’s a family holding hands around the table, with eyes closed.
There’s a couple sitting out on the front step, silently looking up at the sky, as he slowly puts his arm around her.
I’m sure they fight, I’m sure they hurt each other, and I’m sure they’re imperfect.
But on evenings like these, how can anyone help but become sensible again?
Because, you know, joy’s the only sensible feeling.
All else it just a perversion of thought.
I reach the end of the street. There’s the pasture, lined with fading crate and myrtles.
Leaning on the cracking wooden fence, I call quietly.
She comes, nuzzling my hand, looking for a carrot or some sugar.
“I’m sorry darling, I didn’t bring anything today.”
I stroke her gently, solemnly.
She whinnies softly, letting me know this behavior’s just not acceptable.
Whispering, I tell her how beautiful the sky is.
How the leaves are changing color.
How the air is cold and chill.
How everyone’s happy and joyful.
How even, when the last couple days are as wretched as can be, my whole view of life can be changed by just one sunset.
She nuzzles my cheek and then trots away, carrying all my secrets with her.
I turn around and make my way down the street.
The sky’s dimming. The lampposts cast their golden puddles of light.
Smoke, wafting out of a chimney. Laughter, heard through cracked windows.
It makes me smile. All this sensibility. Where’d it come from?
How can small things, like the arrangement of clouds and the way light shines through, change the way we feel?
Harmony of head and heart is wondrous.
—- —- —-
How hard it is for me to say that joy’s the only sensible feeling! When I see the news, when I hear stories, and when I experience tragedy, all I want to do is say, “Oh, mourn! Cry! Get it all out! How could such a thing happen? How could it be allowed?” Mourning is warranted most times. Because, frankly, life sucks sometimes. A lot of times. But we can’t dwell on it. That’s where it gets unhealthy. That’s where it gets contagious. And that’s where it gets just plain insensible. So I hope that makes sense. I really don’t mean that mourning, sorrow, and anger have no place. They do! If we didn’t express them, we’d all be balloons, bobbing around tranquilly, but popping and vanishing the moment something sharp pierces us.
But when it comes down to it, we’ve been given a beautiful earth, beautiful people to share it with, and beautiful beings to experience it with. Joy follows naturally.
Listening to: Katie Herzig – Oh my Darlin’
Reading: Robinson Crusoe