Friday, July 29, 2016

Dealing With Unanswerable Woes

Making a Fist - Naomi Shihard Nye

For the first time, on the road north of Tampico,
I felt the life sliding out of me,
a drum in the desert, harder and harder to hear.
I was seven, I lay in the car
watching palm trees swirl a sickening pattern past the glass.
My stomach was a melon split wide inside my skin.

“How do you know if you are going to die?”
I begged my mother.
We had been traveling for days.
With strange confidence she answered,
“When you can no longer make a fist.”

Years later I smile to think of that journey,
the borders we must cross separately,
stamped with our unanswerable woes.
I who did not die, who am still living,
still lying in the backseat behind all my questions,
clenching and opening one small hand.

Rainer Maria Rilke advises there are no classes for beginners in life. The most difficult thing is always asked of one right away.

How did you employ childhood determination to steer past obstacles?

Which questions did you ask?

Did you make a fist or sprout wings?  

Would you walk backwards or race forward?

How have you grown since childhood in dealing with "unanswerable woes?"

"To dare is
to lose one's footing momentarily. 
Not to dare is to lose oneself." - Kierkegaard

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