Songs of Unreason

I subscribe to a literary arts website which sends out a weekly newsletter. The post, entitled The Sunday Poem, contains a review of a recently published collection by a renowned poet. Always informative, there are weeks when its contents, especially its poems, really resonate with me. This week was such a week and I was inspired to share my particular favourite with you. Perhaps because I have recently relocated to the country? Perhaps because I am currently living in an unfamiliar country surrounded by an unfamiliar landscape? Perhaps because, summer, my house is frequently visited by bugs, many of which suffer a similar fate? Perhaps because I also feel a little sad for them and because my partner insists on rescuing all flying sundry, whether deceased or living, and relocating them to the comfort of the garden? Or perhaps simply because it is a cold and cloudy day and I am looking inward? Whichever happy circumstance it is, without further a due I present to you the poem “Dan’s Bugs” by American-born poet Jim Harrison.

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Dan’s Bugs ~ Jim Harrison

I felt a little bad about the nasty earwig
that drowned in my nighttime glass of water,
lying prone at the bottom like a shipwrecked mariner.
There was guilt about the moth who died
when she showered with me, possibly a female.
They communicate through wing vibrations.
I was careful when sticking a letter
in our rural mailbox, waiting for a fly to escape,
not wanting her to be trapped there in the darkness.
Out here in the country many insects invade our lives
and many die in my nightcap, floating and deranged.
On the way to town to buy wine and a chicken
I stopped from 70 mph to pick up
a wounded dragonfly fluttering on the yellow line.
I’ve read that some insects live only for minutes,
as we do in our implacable geologic time.

For those of you who are interested, here is a direct link to the article where this poem was discovered, as well as the website that I was alluding to. I thoroughly recommend subscribing, or at the very least checking it out.

No one is coming…

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If you are an adult, then you are on your own. No one is coming to save you. No brave knight and his elegant white horse. No enchanted godmother armed with a pumpkin and sparkling wand. No winged guardian and no four-legged totem. You have to take responsibility for your own life and the events that happen within it.

Other people and things can certainly aid you.

Circumstances can be fortuitous.

You may even be fortunate enough to experience an extended stay beneath a seven-coloured arch.

But ultimately you are responsible and without conscious action and a solid plan, things, if they have already started to, will continue to slip and fall apart. I know this, both from experience and from speaking to friends and relatives and numerous clients.

You can go around blaming society for this. You can criticise others in order to feel better about yourself. You can look to the outside to fix you. And you can do this for the rest of your life, but it won’t change much. Whatever has to be done, it’s you who has to take responsibility and do it, that’s the bottom line.

Things cannot always go your way, no matter how optimistic or accommodating your outlook. You cannot control everyone and everything. There will always be a fly queueing up to contaminate the ointment, usually when you are least expecting it. Whether it’s a delayed train, a traffic jam, a last minute cancellation, a flat tyre, an argument, an unexpected bill, a virus, a broken limb; a sick, dying or dead relative, worse… The next “Big Bad Mood Spoiler” is never far away. But bigness and badness and maliciousness are relative and their severity depends upon how we choose to view them in each given moment.

We all fall and stumble from time to time. None of us are immune from misfortune or a run of bad luck. Some of us might even suffer from one or the other or both fairly often, or at least far more often than we would like. Others may feel like they (the bad things) never go away. But we still have to focus on ourselves and on doing what we can with what we have in the situation directly in front of us in order to rise up and travel through, and eventually beyond, it.

This might sound bleak and cruel. You might be wondering why it is that I feel you need to hear it. And I can’t blame you for thinking this. When I first stumbled upon the very same information it was equally as unwelcome to me. Which is why I now beg upon your patience and ask you to call upon an open mind.

Take some time to sit with the information I have just given you. Allow yourself the time to really digest it, to process it and assimilate what it actually means. Then go out and make changes in accordance to what you have learned. In doing so, you will open yourself up to infinite possibilities: growing, strengthening, expanding, into the true fullness of who you were meant to be had you always had the courage and the determination and the vision that you have now.

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