Monday, May 2, 2011

I'm Alive, I Believe in Everything-- Meaningful Monday

For Meaningful Monday today, I thought I'd share with you a poem rather than a quote:

I'm Alive, I Believe in Everything-- Lesley Choyce
Self. Brotherhood. God. Zeus. Communism. 
Capitalism. Buddha. Vinyl records. 
Baseball. Ink. Trees. Cures for disease. 
Saltwater. Literature. Walking. Waking.
Arguments. Decisions. Ambiguity. Absolutes. 
Presence. Absence. Positive and Negative. 
Empathy. Apathy. Sympathy and entropy. 
Verbs are necessary. So are nouns.
Empty skies. Dark vacuums of night. 
Visions. Revisions. Innocence. 
I've seen All the empty spaces yet to be filled. 
I've heard All of the sounds that will collect
at the end of the world. 
And the silence that follows.

I'm alive, I believe in everything
I'm alive, I believe in it all. 

Waves lapping on the shore. 
Skies on fire at sunset. 
Old men dancing on the streets.
Paradox and possibility.

Sense and sensibility.
Cold logic and half truth.
Final steps and first impressions.
Fools and fine intelligence.
Chaos and clean horizons.
Vague notions and concrete certainty.
Optimism in the face of adversity.

I'm alive, I believe in everything
I'm alive, I believe in it all. 

Reading this poem, slowly, and really taking in all of the ideas Choyce presents, produces a slideshow of images pouring through my imagination, as though I'm looking through one of those classic ViewMasters we had when I was little.

It brings back memories of my humid Greek Mythology class. Of staying up late watching news broadcasts about summer wildfires when the temperature is too hot to sleep. Of cool summer nights staring up at the stars along the Columbia Gorge.

I'm reminded of the smell of the Oregon coast on a damp, rainy day. Of teaching myself the art of calligraphy by way of a How-To book. My weak attempts in my college jazz class, the image of my high school Theory of Knowledge teacher, making wishes on dandelions, attending a presentation on The Big Bang Theory in downtown Portland.

I picture the works of Walt Whitman and Jane Austen. I hear my dad's voice sharing wonderful advice and common sense and amazing me with all of his random knowledge. I think of Langston Hughes, of flowing skirts, of kites and balloons floating high into the sky.

This poem makes me realize how much life has to offer-- and how easily we forget such a simple thing. It brings back such ordinary, day-to-day memories that I normally wouldn't think about. But sometimes those are the most important things to remember. This poem reminds me of how much I've done, and how much more I can do.

I'm not saying I'm going to take up Buddhism, become a Communist and dance in the streets with old men (although that could be interesting...). But we need to be reminded of the importance of experiencing life; of all there is to learn, to see, to explore.

We need to find our curiosity and run with it.


Amy :o) said...

thanks Michelle, I loved this poem :o).

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