Too Proud to Ask – or – On Ambition

Because I forget too often. And I cry when I remember
taking note of the all the days slipped by
and still I’m unable to acknowledge this imperfect bowl
of my own making

or what has been tossed into it by passers-by
by prophets, by bricklayers
like medieval poets

or what has landed here – no
there – like a maple tree seed spinning
then haphazardly taken root

growing at a pace that is so slow
I know I won’t live to see the greenware crumble
at a hatching
of something meaningful

“Make a list of all the things that are pleasure in life, and them make an art form of one of them. It’s not a way of making a living. It’s a way of making a life.” – Paulus Berensohn

At the wrong moment any little bit of wisdom sounds like a platitude. I know that. I was talking to B. last week and told her that I blame the French philosophers (or my reading of them) for making me believe that cynicism was a hallmark of intelligence, and that professional criticism was anything less than a hypocritical denial of sincere ambition.

I don’t think I used those words.

I have to play a podcast every night to keep myself from ruminating while I try to sleep. Listening to folklore – murderers and other monsters – is somehow more soothing than introspection. Who knows. Maybe the subconscious comparison is comforting.

Paulus added the “us” to his given name. He took on the extra syllable without apology. He unashamedly admitted that he wanted to be the monk who raises his hand and says remember – remember the hand.

Mary Oliver wrote that she wanted to ask him to make her a begging bowl.

Who asks to be asked. And who acknowledges the question with a question?


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