In which your blogger marvels at the thoughtfulness of people, and the rarity of two blog posts in as many days.
I forget who said:
The true measure of friendship lies not in the orthodoxy of the consequential, but in the unbidden kindness of the moment.
Actually, I remember now: I said it, a few minutes ago. I just put it in quotes because there’s far more gravitas in the found quotation than in the “Hey! I just thought of this!” discourse of the internet. Sorry about that.
In the past couple of days, two of my friends sent me emails, as unbidden kindnesses of the moment. I can’t help but feel that there are other people who will appreciate their contents, so…
Here’s a photograph taken on the streets of New York a couple of days ago. When I click the home-button to wake my iPhone, this is now the exhortation from my lock-screen. I’m still trying to figure out whether it’s being brave or writing which is hardest. I suspect the two are irreversibly intertwined.
Secondly, a poem.
I’ve always considered the intrinsic subjectivity of poems to render them far from ideal for sharing: one person’s self-defining vade mecum is another’s trite greeting-card. And then there is the matter of breathlessly announcing the discovery of something marvellous to a group of readers for whom a lack of familiarity with the ‘discovery’ is tantamount to literary heresy. If this seems a greeting card to you, or is a long-standing component of your personal canon, feel free to click away: I shouldn’t dream of imposing. Otherwise, this:
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
It’s by Mary Oliver, and available in this collection.
Anyway, there it is: an unbidden kindness of the moment, from me to you.
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