The Word by Tony Hoagland

Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,

between “green thread”
and “broccoli,” you find
that you have penciled “sunlight.”

Resting on the page, the word
is beautiful. It touches you
as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent from someplace distant
as this morning—to cheer you up,

and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing

that also needs accomplishing.
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds

of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder

or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue,

but today you get a telegram
from the heart in exile,
proclaiming that the kingdom

still exists,
the king and queen alive,
still speaking to their children,

—to any one among them
who can find the time
to sit out in the sun and listen.

The Word

I suspect we all have a to-do list, even if only in our minds, so I love the idea that you find / that you have penciled “sunlight”, between “green thread” and “broccoli”, such a whimsical pairing. This beautiful word, sunlight, resting on the page, touching you as if you had a friend / and sunlight were a present, sent from a distant place, reminding you that not only duties, but pleasure / is a thing / that also needs accomplishing. I love how Hoagland uses sunlight to remind us that pleasure is as important as duty; how easily we can forget; how easily we can be reminded.

He asks us to remember that love / is no less practical / than a coffee grinder / or a safe spare tire. Right up there with broccoli and green thread. So today you get a telegram / from the heart in exile saying that the fairy tale king and queen are alive in their kingdom, with their children, that love exists if only we can find the time / to sit out in the sun and listen. Surely we can find the time, make the time, to pay attention to sunlight, to pleasure, to time and light and love.

What’s on your to-do list for today? I hope you will add the word sunlight, which can show you the way to pleasure with all its attendant elements of love. Even when the sun isn’t shining, it’s still there.

7 thoughts on “The Word by Tony Hoagland

  1. While I am, at present, thoroughly fed up of the heat being produced from our blessed sun, I am reminded to be “awake” and to pay attention to all things small and precious.
    Thank you, Jan. xoxo

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  2. Jan, I’m going through my Inbox. This is lovely and so perfect for me as I’ve been expanding my heart experiences this year. I love your phrase: I love how Hoagland uses sunlight to remind us that pleasure is as important as duty; how easily we can forget; how easily we can be reminded.

    I get so caught up and overwhelmed at times with duty and responsibility

    Thank you for this reminder. I hope you are thriving in this summer time. Love, Margaret 613-725-6941 h 613-795-9879 c

    Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

    – Oscar Wilde.

    >

    Like

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