Friday, April 15, 2022

npm 15: the upper case for being



Greeting, Poetry Friday folk.  I got myself all tangled up and the remedy was story.  I craved a story from beginning to end that reminded me of a time when things were not so complicated. Cleaning out the garage, I found the box of all the childhood books I'd carefully saved, in which the box set of THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, with its 1972 Peter Max style covers.  I dove in and here's what became.


However, it turns out that there was never a time when things weren't so complicated, not in my lifetime and not in C.S. Lewis's either (and not in our culture. You can hear the reverberations of Robin Wall Kimmerer's chapter on "The Grammar of Animacy" in this poem; but not my culture.)  And ALL WE CAN SAVE, in between its glimmers of hope and inspiration and activation, often works a weariness too.

Varshini Prakash takes this from the Tao Te Ching-- "Do your work, then step back./The only path to serenity"-- and makes this of it: "The way I see it, if we are constantly striving, constantly putting every ounce of ourselves into making this world better, that is a life worth living."  Oof.

Senator Elizabeth Warren warns us, "Choose to fight only righteous fights, because then when things get tough--and they will--you will know that there is only one option ahead of you:  Nevertheless, you must persist."  Ouch.

To be Human is so hard.  There is no escaping it; we sit under the Tree of Knowledge even if we don't credit the Adam and Eve origin.  We contend every moment with the question of Good and Evil; we are not Dandelion, Bluebell, Beaver or Turtle, Mountain or Meadow. It seems we may not simply Be, our neutral, natural instincts at work.  So I'm grateful for this posted by a friend on Facebook.  May it steady you too.


 Thanks to Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme for hosting us today, and hoping you are filled with the animacy of Spring all around you, listening to the grammar of Balance.



My project for NPM 2022:
This month I'm making "human stories to move human beings.  Human stories are more powerful for inciting action than counting carbon or detailing melting glaciers." (Favianna Rodriguez, from her essay "Harnessing Cultural Power," in ALL WE CAN SAVE.)
Read previous poems in the series here:
5 A comparison of beaver wisdom with human attempts to control water & fire



  1. Well. You didn't stop writing for long! ;-)
    Thank you for this whole post. For the story. For the capitalizations. For the recognition that "To be Human is so hard." For the list of equal truths.

  2. I love all the connections here - as well, of course, as the sentiment. "Tangled helicated Molecules, indeed. Wow!

  3. Heidi, your poem is so very beautiful. I love the way I felt as I read it, and it's hard to pinpoint why. Like this: "Name us Mothers of Mountains, Sisters to Snow, Brothers to each Meadow..." and "this one and only Sphere." Your poem is rich and full of life and hope. Thank you for it.

    I also gleaned this beautiful quote from your post today: "Do your work, then step back./The only path to serenity."

  4. Heidi, wow, you did write a story and you hooked me from the beginning to the end. Your lines "reminded me of a time when things were not so complicated" and "there was never a time when things weren't so complicated, not in my lifetime" made me think of when I was a child how much easier it was to escape from life complications. We didn't have the constant bombardment of the internet, cell phones, global news everywhere... As a child there were less responsibilities, which gave me more time to imagine, dream, escape. The older I get, the more I comprehend, the less I'm willing to accept, to follow, the more I want to escape, be in the woods, on a mountain, cross country skiing, hear ocean waves, feel the foam of them crash on my legs, listen to my cats' warm purrs... Thank you for sharing; your words throughout your post moved me and made me feel. Thank you also for sharing Things That Can Be Equally True; it does help to steady me.

  5. Oomph. Powerful post, Heidi. I am thinking about Upper Case, Naming. Naming makes us specific, even as Humans, as though seeing ourselves individually called out - those "tangled, helicated Molecules" that help hold the Sphere together: Hello, Ms. Patricia. Hello Ms. Heidi. Now we can't squirm away. Really nice. Thank you.

  6. Just what I needed to read today, Heidi! xo

  7. All of this resonates for me today, Heidi. Thank you for this wise reminder, and for these words to contemplate. Your poem is just lovely - one to read, think about, and visit again every so often. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  8. Wow, Heidi. I feel like this post has left me swimming in a vernal pool of thoughts and truths that I don't even understand fully but that I somehow recognize. And that I need to think deeply about and let them soak in. And that graphic from your Facebook friend-thank you for that!


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!