Thursday, April 08, 2010

Build One Barn
(National Poetry Month, Cont.)

Carriage House Doors
Carriage House Doors, in the Catskills

Yesterday I read the following poem by Josephine Johnson. Then I read it again.  Then I thought some more about it.  And then I said (to myself, and now to you) "Yes, this is what I've been wondering lately."  How to build one barn?  And which barn to build?  And where?

How to let go of what is not important? How to give more care and attention to what is important?

Lots of questions.  No answers yet.  No matter; I think the asking alone is valuable.

Let Go, Return
by Josephine W. Johnson

This is the need, the deep necessity of every life:
To scatter wide seed in many fields,
But build one barn.

This is our blunder, to have built
Gilt shacks for every seed,
And followed our sowing on fast anxious feet,
Desiring to grind the farmost grain.

Let go. Let go. Return
Heighten and straighten the barn's first beam.
Give shape and form. Discover the rat, the splintered stair.
Throw out the dry, gray corn.

Then may it be said of you:
Behold, he had done one thing well,
And he knows whereof he speaks, and he means what he has said,
And we may trust him.
This is sufficient for a life.

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