I love poetry and for that I know I am a rare breed. In it I find words to put to my messes of thoughts. There is a song I currently love by Sarah Bareilles with the line: I've got a thick tongue, brimming with the words that go unsung... And for me, when I find a poem that sings the words I want to but can't quite place, I get so excited I just can't contain myself. I have watched my husband jump out of his seat while watching a KU basketball game and pump a fist high in the hair while shouting; this is how I feel when I read a good line of poetry.

So it did not come as a shock to me when a fellow language arts teacher friend of mine [yes, that is her official title] and I were in a store [anthropologie, to be exact! great store] that primarily sells overly priced, trendy clothing and vintage-type [overly priced] decorations and we gravitated to one of the few books that were interspersed throughout. We each picked up a copy and then forgot the other person existed for almost an entire ten minutes. Finally we pulled ourselves away from the pages and looked at each other with that knowing "i-have-to-own-this-book-i-don't-care-how-much-it-costs-it-smells-good-it-is-beautiful-and-don't-let-people-fool-you-teachers-make-enough-money-to-splurge-every-once-in-awhile" look. [What? You don't know the look I'm talking about? Ask an English teacher near you.]

Anyway, the "book" is actually a journal of sorts entitled "The True and the Questions." It is created and written by Sabrina Ward Harrison [whom I had never heard of but the blurb on the front says she has three books of poetry. I will include their titles here in case any of you have started a list of Christmas possibilities for me ;) : Spilling Open, Brave on the Rocks, and Messy, Thrilling Life.] Anyway, fellow language arts teacher friend and I decide that we could buy one another the book, as an early birthday present for each of us [to justify actually spending money on ourselves...yes, we understand what actually happened]. Since that time we have been emailing and messaging one another lines from the book. She even used some of the prompts for a writing activity in her classroom and, if I am brave enough to explore that territory with my students one day, I will too.

Here is a recent poem I stumbled upon on one of the pages:

life is a growing expedition
through the tangled and unfilled-in parts.
What happens after age nine?
Because of the fear we don't trust
our own life?
our own story?
our colors?
To be afraid and leap regardless
there is such power in that.

to live into the questions of our lives
when nothing feels clear.
We have this chance to do absolutely
to reach out to another,
vulnerable and true.

to dance on the roof in euphoria
to pray into the ocean and let go.
We have this chance every moment
to be alive and give to this world,
which needs each one of us.

We must show up for our own life
Be brave
Be messy
Be loud
Be strong
Trust yourself.

Okay, so I don't know if you had a jump-out-of-your-chair-and-pump-your-fist-in-the-air reaction to that poem like I did. I just feel like right now this poem speaks volumes of the fears and questions I have about where I am currently. My life is still unfilled-in. There are still SO many questions. But like the poem says, I want to LIVE INTO THOSE QUESTIONS...be AFRAID AND LEAP REGARDLESS.

God will provide my daily bread...but I must do the leaping.


*carrie* said...

Living the questions makes me think of Ranier Maria Rilke. If you haven't read him, you should. I think the book is called "Letters to a Young Poet."

julie said...

Um, yeah. Total fist pumping going on over here.

"To be afraid and leap regardless
there is such power in that."


"to live into the questions of our lives
when nothing feels clear."

and finally,

"We must show up for our own life"

totally resonating with me right now. love it.