Song of the Shattering Vessels
Either the world is coming together
or else the world is falling apart—
here—now—along these letters,
against the walls of every heart.
Today, tomorrow, within its weather,
the end or beginning’s about to start—
the world impossibly coming together
or very possibly falling apart.
Now the lovers’ mouths are open—
maybe the miracle’s about to start:
the world within us coming together,
because all around us it’s falling apart.
Even as they speak, he wonders,
even as the fear departs:
Is that the world coming together?
Can they keep it from falling apart?
The image, gradually, is growing sharper;
now the sound is like a dart:
It seemed their world was coming together,
but in fact it was falling apart.
That’s the nightmare, that’s the terror,
that’s the Isaac of this art—
which sees that the world might come together
if only we’re willing to take it apart.
The dream, the lure, isn’t an answer
that might be plotted along some chart—
as we know the world that’s coming together
within our knowing’s falling apart.
~ By Peter Cole, Hymns & Qualms: New and Selected Poems and Translations.
Copyright Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2017.
Reprinted with permission.
In light of the recent happenings, this poem especially stood out to me. Every day it seems that something new and terrible is happening in our world. There is this inner conflict within me because I recognize that I am here, safe and sound and healthy, but I also realize that so many others do not feel this way, cannot feel this way in our current state of affairs. I also understand that my sense of security in the things that I hold dear to my heart: home, friends, loved ones, music, writing – is contingent upon the fact that these are all treasures that I cannot own or fully protect. That is why they are special and why we have to fight for the good in this world. We must come together in kindness and empathy, even within our knowing that our world could be falling apart.
Here are some things that reminded me this week of hope, of our potential to do good in this world, and our capacity to love deeply and fully:
This incredible podcast: “Music as Medicine”
Barbara Kingsolver wrote a collection of essays entitled Small Wonder that explore the depths of what it means to be human in a rapidly changing world. The prologue was written shortly after the attacks on September 11, and she talks about the depth of her grief within the overwhelming grief of a nation and a shocked world. Her words, though written nearly 10 years ago, speak directly to what is happening in our world today and are healing, empowering, and thought-provoking all at once. There are so many quotes I loved from “Knowing Our Place.”
A fantastic list of 8 things you can do to help.
The vastness of the world explored.
One of my best friends sent me this book for my birthday, and I’ve dog-eared and written all over the book already. The poems have been powerful and vastly healing for me. Similar to Rupi Kaur and Nayyirah Waheed, Emery Allen writes brilliantly big things in beautifully succinct ways.
Listening to this on repeat.
Remembering to connect and reconnect with the people around me.