April 26th – National Poem in Your Pocket Day

Apparently Thursday, April 26th was the national Poem in Your Pocket Day here in the US.  I honestly had no clue, but then again there is a “day” dedicated to just about everything now. 

Today, a colleague of mine stopped by to give me a poem she had in her pocket yesterday.  Being that I was out of the office she couldn’t give it to me so she handed it to me now instead.  I thought she was a bit silly, but she explained that she loves poetry and this is one of her favorite poems (not her number one favorite, but it is up there). 

She said I didn’t have to read it, but part of celebrating poetry is sharing it.  I could read it or recycle the back as scratch paper.  I decided to read the poem of course and it kind of resonated for me. The poem she passed along to me was:

“The Layers” by Stanley Kunitz

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being abides,
from which I struggle not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

This poem fits or seems to on point for many different events in my life and it closes with the absolute truth that I am not done with my changes yet. The parts of me I am not happy with I shall change, the parts I like will remain.  The past that has hurt me will be used to grow stronger and learn from and the past where I made mistakes will also be learned from. 

Tagged with: