Poetry Friday: Finding My Center

I had so much fun reading Sara’s post a few days ago — because I’m in the process of renewing my visa to stay in the UK another two years and I’m reading the absolutely insane questions that require me to “tick yes or no.”

In times of either peace or war have you, ever been involved in, or suspected of involvment in, war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide?

Have you engaged in any other activities that might indicate that you may not be considered a person of good character?

Tick yes or no.

No. No. No. No. No.
And a thousand times more.

And yet, the last question is sticky. Have you engaged in any activities that might indicate that you may not be considered a person of good character?

Who are you, then?

Meg Kearny’s whimsical, elegant Creed attempts to establish part of an answer to that — and even as thorough as this poem is, we still see only an outline of the poet.

Isn’t that the way it always is.

by Meg Kearney

I believe the chicken before the egg
though I believe in the egg. I believe
eating is a form of touch carried
to the bitter end; I believe chocolate
is good for you; I believe I’m a lefty
in a right-handed world, which does not
make me gauche, or abnormal, or sinister.
I believe “normal” is just a cycle on
the washing machine; I believe the touch
of hands has the power to heal, though
nothing will ever fill this immeasurable
hole in the center of my chest. I believe
in kissing; I believe in mail; I believe
in salt over the shoulder, a watched
pot never boils, and if I sit by my
mailbox waiting for the letter I want
it will never arrive—not because of
superstition, but because that’s not
how life works. I believe in work:
phone calls, typing, multiplying,
black coffee, write write write, dig
dig dig, sweep sweep.

from An Unkindness of Ravens. © BOA Editions, Rochester, New York, 2001.
—read the rest of this poem right here.

From the Earth, only one side of the moon is visible — ever. No matter how any of us may appear, we are only the sum total of the moment we are in — a moving picture of who we have the potential to become. We believe that we see all we are, and judge each other — and ourselves — so harshly, despite the fact that few of us are ever fully whomever we could be.

Life is more than yes/no, 0/1, either/or. This I believe.

Find your own creed this Poetry Friday at Wild Rose Reader, who has invited us for brunch. I think I’m late, but there will surely be leftovers.

10 Replies to “Poetry Friday: Finding My Center”

  1. This poem made Carol want to write; every time I read this poem, it makes me a little more comfortable with my own quirky set of beliefs. (although I do share more than a few with the poet!!!)

  2. John, now I have to know what you figured out. share?

    Tadmack I love your creed. I believe God likes it when we share. Also, God made you special and she loves you very much. Can’t help it if I took that from Veggie Tales – they are so wise.

  3. Isn’t it interesting where Meg chose to place “I believe”? Instead of at the predictable beginning of each line, she sticks it right there in the middle. I’ll have to reread it a few times to figure out why.

  4. That ending leaves me mulling… and the reference to ZuZu’s petals leaves me smiling. It’s been ages since I watched that movie.

    So true, we see ourselves “through a glass darkly” at best.

  5. Can you just imagine someone ticking YES to genocide? Good grief, that’s stupid.

    I love creed poems. I think everyone should write them at as many different points–or moments as you say—of our lives as possible.

  6. T, I’m sorry to tell you, but the visa you’re going to get? It’ll be for 4 years. 3 years of PhD, 1 bonus year for “writing up,” should I need it.

  7. Love this poem (new to me). Also, appreciate your thoughts, especially, that we are the sum total of the moment we are in. Have a great holiday up there in cold country!!

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