I never stopped to ask how far you’ve come,
I’ve never reminded you of the places you’ve been,
I’ve never asked for your story,
I’ve learned everyone else’s but yours.
With a curiosity and unexpecting nature,
I’ve sought in others what I forgot to seek in you.
I’ve realized how seldom we ask you, Life, for these minute details of our past,
Always thinking about the future,
And never in remembrance, celebrating the past.
We let the skewed nature of time seep into our minds,
Always asking for and wanting more out of you.
These past few weeks, the words haven’t been flowing,
A few were stuck on the page,
I’m finally emerging from the earth,
Which sucked me up and stifled the words I thought I had inside of me.
I forgot I could surprise myself,
With the words I have yet to learn,
And the thoughts undiscovered.
The two in creation,
Breathing life into the dormant spaces of my being.
Lately, the words of Rilke have been ringing in my mind:
“Being an artist means: not numbering and counting,
but ripening like a tree,
which doesn’t force its sap,
and stands confidently in the storms of spring,
not afraid that afterward summer may not come.
It does come.
But it comes only to those who are patient,
Who are there as if eternity lay before them,
so unconcernedly silent and vast”.
Usually, I read and reread Rilke’s passages,
drinking up his advice,
but one day, several days ago, I did the opposite.
I decided to count.
I counted what could be counted,
And eventually, I counted what I could not.
How many times I’ve stood still as the waves crashed against me,
How many times I’ve told myself to keep going,
How many times I’ve started over again,
How many times I felt my heart beat,
Felt the air inside my lungs,
And bowed in gratitude for being here, so alive in this moment.
I couldn’t count.
The moments of beauty outweighed moments of heartache,
Leaving me to feel the palpable energy of truth and stillness that is carried through time and space.
Sometimes we forget to lift the veil of illusion,
For wanting more out of you, Life.
We forget to give back to you,
Like a neatly wrapped present on a birthday,
We’re so excited to live,
That we rush out the door,
And leave the present at home.
We tend to be harder on you than we should be.
I’m one to talk,
Sometimes we need to surrender,
To release the constraints,
To experience the lightness of being,
That sometimes feels unbearable.
Usually it’s our dear friend Fear,
To teach you (Life), and I, a lesson.
She comes with our longing,
As it never ceases to exist.
Longing is stronger and ever more present,
A fuel to keep going,
It lives in the deep corners of our heart and mind.
She lives with our dear friend Fear.
I’ve seen her many times,
I continue to live with her,
Seeking to be closer to her,
As I know Sama and have lived with her many times.
We refuse to want anything less out of you, Life.
We refuse to compromise.
To expect something magnificent of you isn’t silly, it’s admirable.
To be manifest truth isn’t ambitious, it’s beautiful.
To Live is to follow the awe, magic, and wander.
While there may be a line between practical and crazy,
That’s a hard line to know when your longing exists in the thick of it.
So next time I get a little carried away,
I ask you to take me by the hand,
And show me that line.
At the same time, I’ll ask you, Life,
How far you’ve come,
And the places you’ve seen.
Like a melody I can’t get out of my head,
I’ll travel far,
Only to come back again.
To seek refuge in the beauty and naiveté,
To begin where I started,
And remember to give what you gave me.
I realize the dance we danced,
The song we sang,
The rhythm and the melody,
Are all we have,
And all that we leave behind.
When the wind picks up,
The waves crash,
And I stand still,
I listen to the wind,
For the story you are telling me.
The waves effortlessly wash over,
Washing me anew,
Because each day,
I start over.
This poem is in response to conversations I’ve had with friends and with myself over the last few weeks about our dreams, the deep friendships and bonds we seek, the mark we want to leave behind in this world, and so much more. I began to see life as a breathing entity, this other being that I’ve created. I began to have an internal dialogue with Life, realizing I’d forgotten how much life and internal growth I’ve experienced in such short years, apologizing for sometimes being hard on it while also being unapologetic for my dreams. This poem was born as a result of that dialogue.