For the past hour I have committed myself to solitaire instead of posting this blog. Why? Because my dog is sick, because the news of yet more shootings sickens me, because . . . because . . . because. Because the world is too much with me today, not getting and spending as Wordsworth said, but because there is no time out for peace. Life has historically been a violent enterprise. Plagues, war, abuse–a hellish place this world. But it’s the only one we’ve got. We will not colonize a new planet, although we seem bent on destroying this one.
How to shake this ennui, despair, meanness? Yes, I feel mean. I want politics to go jump off a cliff–oh, wait, that’s already happened. I want to regain my usual calm and get on with my day. The weather is mild right now. I have a poetry group on the agenda. The dog is not going to die today. And I am committed to my life as a writer, a truth teller, a scribe. Today the truth is that I’m scared. Scared for our country. The violence, racism and hate have percolated into my cells and I want to play turtle, draw back into mindless digital games until the despair blows over. But here’s the thing: my distress won’t pass unless I face it and commit to doing what I can to be a better citizen. I have to vote. I have to work at equality among the people I know and respect. I have to give the dog his medicine and pay the vet bills. I have to go take a shower and be glad for that simple opportunity. Commitment starts now, again, with gratitude for hot water on demand, for eggs in the frying pan, and for the safety of home.
2 responses to “Commited?”
A beautiful post, Karen. Yes, what a low period we’re in, almost impervious to poetry because the instinctual response is numbness. We go to ground like wounded animals. (My little dog was attacked a few days ago by what we think was a juvenile coyote hunting alone—the only reason she’s still with us.) But let me recommend an immediate tonic: I’m watching the dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the Washington DC mall, and oh my, it is a dose of good, uplifting news. The truth is complex and difficult, but an undeniable part of it is that progress happens, healing begins, history becomes history, and the core from which love and poetry flow reawakens, aching but intact and strong enough to bring us powerful words like yours.
Thanks for the encouragement. Of course poetry helped and today I plan a visit to the botanic garden.