Once again poetry is helping me move through my words and day. Thank you to Laurie Powers for her 27 Wild Days. Today she reads Jane Hirshfield’s poem, Today When I Could Do Nothing. I’ve had too many of those days when I could not galvanize myself out of my lethargy.
Her words motivated me to try to do at least one small thing. I pushed myself out of my comfortable chair and into the dining room. I had to start somewhere. The table with many things on it was too big a challenge. My eyes glazed over and my head hurt at the sight. Somehow dusting the top of the china cabinet was ok. I had to clear and dust the objects on top of it first. Funny how my mind and brain work. I will not try to figure it out. It is not essential. Go with the flow.
Even though I felt like mush today, I dusted the top of my china cabinet. With the excitement that I could move, I pushed a damp mop over the floor while the guy cooked breakfast. I was surprised that I finished doing all the floor after breakfast. Having warmed up, I did 5 rounds of hula hooping. My best round was almost 80 revolutions nonstop. I’m quite proud I was able to do all that and a little more. Now I’m telling you about it even though I felt like a wet noodle today.
I can’t wait to hear a new poem tomorrow.
Today, when I could do nothing,
I saved an ant.
It must have come in with the morning paper,
still being delivered
to those who shelter in place.
A morning paper is still an essential service.
I am not an essential service.
I have coffee and books,
silence enough to fill cisterns.
It must have first walked
the morning paper, as if loosened ink
taking the shape of an ant.
Then across the laptop computer—warm—
then onto the back of a cushion.
Small black ant, alone,
crossing a navy cushion,
moving steadily because that is what it could do.
Set outside in the sun,
it could not have found again its nest.
What then did I save?
It did not move as if it was frightened,
even while walking my hand,
which moved it through swiftness and air.
Ant, alone, without companions,
whose ant-heart I could not fathom—
how is your life, I wanted to ask.
I lifted it, took it outside.
This first day when I could do nothing,
beyond staying distant from my own kind,
I did this. – Jane Hirshfield