Thursday, October 27, 2011

Keeping Things Whole

Growing up, my family sometimes seemed like a pack of gypsies picking up and moving every year or so. That's why the following poem by has been a favorite of mine through the years.  It speaks to me at a primal level.

I actually had the good fortune to hear Mark Strand recite it. I realize that most people would probably put a poetry reading on their Top 10 List of Dreary Activities along with writing thank you notes and counting beans. However, at the time, I was an English Lit major in a whole room of other literary nerds. Mr. Strand was practically a rock-star. In a different setting, we would've been waving Bics.

I was most impressed by the way he read this work -- it was the way I have always felt it.  There was nothing in his voice to suggest self-pity, remorse, regret, dissatisfaction, or anger. Instead, he read simply, calmly. Sort of in an "it is what it is" kind of way.

Originally, I had thought to dissect this poem in my post, but I've had a change of mind. I'd rather let you interpret it for yourself. Hopefully, you'll enjoy it (or at least find something interesting in it), too.

Keeping Things Whole

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body's been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

-- Mark Strand

A field near my house that I'd like to move through one day


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