No matter what we’re going through, the opposite is happening somewhere else at the same time. This awareness doesn’t minimize our own experience but adds context and medicine to the truth of any given moment, the way a rip in the curtains we have drawn seems like a violation of the privacy we so wanted though it is only letting the light of the world in. This poem tries to understand this paradox.
As something is breaking, somewhere
something is being joined. As something
is joining, somewhere something is breaking.
As something closes, something opens. As
something opens, something closes. Where
there is dark, somewhere there is light. And
where there is light, somewhere there is dark.
When things go clear, somewhere things are
thickening into confusion. And when people
are agitated, others are calm. I don’t understand
this. But as something is taken, something is given.
As something is given, something is taken. As some-
one is cruel, someone is kind. And when kindness
appears, somewhere something cruel is poised to
sting. Then someone is lost, as another is finally
at home. And some are aware of this, while others
are not. The way things break and join at once, the
way people are cruel and kind at once, the way life
constantly opens and closes, how there is light and
dark in every soul, how we’re clear and confused
just behind our heart, and lost and at home in
every breath — This is the river we’re born into,
turbulent at the surface, swift in the deep. This
is what we try to make sense of and live through,
feeling it’s all too much but needing more. So lift
your head and steady your heart, knowing, as you’re
swept along, that Experience is the face of God.
A Question to Walk With: Whatever you’re feeling in this moment, open your heart to it completely. Now open your heart completely the fact that the opposite of what you’re feeling is happening somewhere else. Try to imagine both and the feelings merge. In the next few days, try to describe this experience to a friend.
For more poetry for the soul, click here.
For more by Mark Nepo, click here.