Thursday, January 2, 2014

Poem for Our Return to Regular Life

Today many of us return to our regular lives.  Maybe we're grateful:  maybe we crave the structure of our regular schedules.  Maybe regular life makes it possible for us to keep to an exercise schedule and to eat sensibly.

Or maybe we're returning to a hectic life, full of difficult commutes and hundreds of e-mails every day.

Maybe both things are true.

So, before we get too immersed in regular life, pulled away from the mysticism and the beauty of Advent and Christmas, let's take some time to remember ways that we can be more attentive and present to our lives. 

Let's return to the lessons of the monks.

Here is my poem, "Horarium."  I found it strangely comforting to revisit it.  It seems appropriate for our return to regular life.  It first appeared in Poetry East about a year ago.


The monks get their morning
news from the Psalms.  We brew
coffee and scan the TV stations
for news we can use:
diet tips, a weather report,
the quickest way around the traffic jams.

We sit in our coffin
like cars and watch the sun rise
across sluggish traffic.  The monks chant
to each other across the chancel
as the morning light shifts
across the sanctuary.

Chained to our computers,
we undo the work of past days
and create documents to be dismantled
tomorrow.  The monks tend
the chickens and mulch
the seedlings.  We shred
documents while the monks
welcome visitors to a meal.

At night, we click through cable
channels, our glazed eyes focusing on nothing.
The monks light candles
in a darkened chapel and wait
for the final blessing
of the day, a splash
of holy water and a benediction.


rbarenblat said...

This is beautiful. Thank you.

Happy 2014!

Kristin said...

Thank you, Rachel--happy 2014 to you too. May it be full of all sorts of happiness for us all.