Clearing – Martha Postlewaite

Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create
a clearing
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
patiently,
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worth of rescue.

Clearing

This poem caught my attention for its brevity and simplicity while conveying a profound message. Although I agree the world needs saving in so many ways, I am continuously struck by how inadequate I feel and am in the face of her suffering. Yet, I cannot believe there is nothing to be done, that I have nothing to offer.

So I resonate with what Postlewaite is suggesting, and what I have heard from other,  wise poets (David Wagoner, Derek Walcott, David Whyte, Mary Oliver and more). Stand still, make a space for yourself, wait until the song / that is your life / falls into your own cupped hands / and you recognize and greet it.

And then, as she says, you will know what your gifts are and how to offer them to this needful world. This world so worthy of rescue. And I might add, it probably won’t be grandiose, affecting millions. Instead it will affect one other person, perhaps two or three if you and they are lucky. But those worthy people will be better for receiving your gifts.

The song that is your life – have you heard it yet? Are you listening?

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