Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Back

Life is tough.  A Zen text (Sengstau) teaches “The great way is not difficult for those who have no preferences.”  It takes a long time to get to that place, if ever.  Meanwhile, we need all the help we can get.  Whatever gets you through (with a few exceptions, of course).

I believe that poetry can help.  It can distract, entertain, give us solace, make us feel less alone, clarify, and yes, even make us laugh. In College, my friends and I thought up the idea of opening a bar with two entrances.  If you were feeling down, you could go in the entrance marked “Il Penseroso” and weep into your beer.  If feeling cheerful, you could choose the entrance marked “L’Allegro” and be rowdy and boisterous. (Thank you John Milton).  The opposite action was also an option.

For a good cry, read John Milton or Ruth Stone.  To connect with nature, search for a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem or one by Mary Oliver.  Laugh with Edward Lear or Phyllis McGinley. When feeling down and a bit flattened out by the “slings and arrows”,

search out a poem by Jane Hirshfield or David Whyte for a spiritual uplift.  Life is tough.  But you can spring back. Try reading a poem.