This weeks Saturday Poetry, matched with mobile photography/art is entitled ‘Self-Compassion’ by James Crews. He is the author of The Path to Kindness: Poems of Connection and Joy (Storey Publishing, 2022) and the co-founder of the Poetry of Resilience seminars.
Crews wrote ‘Self-Compassion’ the summer after the pandemic first began. He explained ‘when I felt so worried for the state of our country and planet, when everything in our individual lives also seemed to be falling apart—the leaky pipe, my husband’s health. I’m a recovering cynic, so self-care practices can still seem silly to me, but in this case, I had no choice but to be kind to myself, the wise words of Wendell Berry echoing in my mind: ‘Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.’”
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Self Compassion – James Crews
My friend and I snickered the first time
we heard the meditation teacher, a grown man,
call himself honey, with a hand placed
over his heart to illustrate how we too
might become more gentle with ourselves
and our runaway minds. It’s been years
since we sat with legs twisted on cushions,
holding back our laughter, but today
I found myself crouched on the floor again,
not meditating exactly, just agreeing
to be still, saying honey to myself each time
I thought about my husband splayed
on the couch with aching joints and fever
from a tick bite—what if he never gets better?—
or considered the threat of more wildfires,
the possible collapse of the Gulf Stream,
then remembered that in a few more minutes,
I’d have to climb down to the cellar and empty
the bucket I placed beneath a leaky pipe
that can’t be fixed until next week. How long
do any of us really have before the body
begins to break down and empty its mysteries
into the air? Oh honey, I said—for once
without a trace of irony or blush of shame—
the touch of my own hand on my chest
like that of a stranger, oddly comforting
in spite of the facts.
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