Friday, May 30, 2014

Find the Meaning

by Carl Dennis
If a life needn't be useful to be meaningful, 
Then maybe a life of sunbathing on a beach 
Can be thought of as meaningful for at least a few, 
The few, say, who view the sun as a god 
And consider basking a form of worship. 
As for those devoted to partnership with a surfboard 
Or a pair of ice skates or a bag of golf clubs, 
Though I can't argue their lives are useful, 
I'd be reluctant to claim they have no meaning 
Even if no one observes their display of mastery. 
No one is listening to the librarian 
I can call to mind as she practices, after work, 
In her flat on Hoover Street, the viola da gamba 
In the one hour of day that for her is golden. 
So what if she'll never be good enough 
To give a concert people will pay to hear? 
When I need to think of her with an audience, 
I can imagine the ghosts of composers dead for centuries,
Pleased to hear her doing her best with their music. 
And isn't it pleasing, as we walk at dusk to our cars 
Parked on Hoover Street, after a meeting 
On saving a shuttered hotel from the wrecking ball, 
To catch the sound of someone filling a room 
We won't be visiting with a haunting solo? 
And then the gifts we receive by imagining 
How down at the beach today surfers made sure 
The big waves we weren't there to appreciate 
Didn't go begging for attention. 
And think of the sunlight we failed to welcome, 
How others stepped forward to take it in.


Carl Dennis questions what it means to make a contribution by exploring different notions. He wants to believe that despite appearances everyone in the poem has a part to play. 

Watch simple situations, scenes and human interactions today that provide meaning.

Let them connect to develop a story or poem.

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