11 December 2012

december {a poem, not by me}

It has been a week of—no, a month of—to-do lists and tasks.

The checkmark mentality has so overtaken me that even when I try to write easy, light emails—the kind where you say, "Hi, dear friend, I miss you. When can we see each other? Please say it's soon."—I want to write it in bullet points.
I would so love to see you soon, and here are some times I have available:
  • Saturday morning at 9:30
  • Sunday before church
  • next Monday night from 7:30 to 8:30
And I was thinking that we could:
  • take a walk {weather dependent}
  • drink coffee
  • drink hot cocoa
  • drink coffee and hot cocoa together {and maybe put some sort of alcohol in it because that's just the kind of day/week/month it's been, the kind where you want all your desires in one cup}
But none of that sounds very friendly, does it? It sounds like I'm trying to cram my friends into my planner, squeeze them down to size, and then check them off my list.

Of course that's not what I mean, but I cannot seem to make my brain stop its to-do list format.


Until I remember that poetry always does it.

Poetry always brings me back from the edge where I thought, just for a second, that if I could just get everything down on paper, it'd be all right. If I could just categorize it all under headings and subheadings and especially if arrows were involved—well, then, it would all work out.

Poetry, though, is what reminds me that not everything has to be structured and not everything will work out as I want it to when I make my to-do list in the morning.

Poetry is what reminds me that it's all right—it's more than all right—even when nothing works out as I thought it would.

So today I found a poem about Christmas carols and Christmas decorations. It's about how even in the midst of all this shiny, happy holiday stuff, we still need to do the chores; we still need to take the garbage out and shovel the walk.

You can get bogged down in those details of life {at any time of year, you can get bogged down}, or you can choose to see the glint of beauty in the blend of the chaos, the chores, the normalcy, the lights.

And for right now, reading this poem and writing down a few words about it, my mind has stopped its to-do list. That's all I wanted.

Gary Johnson

A little girl is singing for the faithful to come ye
Joyful and triumphant, a song she loves,
And also the partridge in a pear tree
And the golden rings and the turtle doves.
In the dark streets, red lights and green and blue
Where the faithful live, some joyful, some troubled,
Enduring the cold and also the flu,
Taking the garbage out and keeping the sidewalk shoveled.
Not much triumph going on here—and yet
There is much we do not understand.
And my hopes and fears are met
In this small singer holding onto my hand.
Onward we go, faithfully, into the dark
And are there angels singing overhead? Hark.


  1. Replies
    1. Why, thank you (especially since you're one of those friends who got an email that was more like a tasklist)!



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