Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Totems of Organization and Placidness

There are always some things in my life that are signs that I am organized and placid. When I have a day that does not have enough solitude and enough time to attend to these things, I know why I feel unbalanced and at loose ends. The totems for me are: a. dishes all loaded into the dishwasher, b. papers organized and filed, c. a clear and attainable list for the following day.

Today, after a full day at home, I’ve made progress toward that end. The dishes are in the dishwasher, which seems to go a long way. I have my papers organized into three piles, but I am not filed and caught up. I have a clear plan for tomorrow. So two out of three isn’t bad.

While I work to be organized and placid, here is a lovely poem from Rukeyser, thanks to Ellen Moody.


by Muriel Rukeyser

The world is full of loss; bring, wind, my love
My home is where we make our meeting-place
And love whatever I shall touch and read
Within that face

Lift, wind, my exile from my eyes;
Peace to look, life to listen and confess,
Freedom to find to find to find
That nakedness.

(1944, "Beast in View")

From Muriel Rukeyser: A Reader.

The message of this poem, of course, is one which undoes my three totems. The poem tells us that what we seek is not an organized kitchen or an organized life. The poem tells us not to seek placidness, but the “Freedom to find to find to find/That nakedness.” Nakedness, which I must believe is not contained in plastic file folders or clean dishes or realistic lists.

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