Poets teach us about please
Oh, my. I was all set to end the National Poetry Month Poemapalooza with my dear sweet Billy (I'll bet you are surprised); he's been waiting here, patiently, beside me. But as I prepared that post, an email from Carolyn arrived, bearing this poem, with this note: "I just had to send it out to you for the joy of being able to type it."
One of the best things about this month's Poemapalooza has been the poetry that many of you have sent me. Please Don't Stop.
No doubt Billy's poem will appear some day when you least expect it--and as incomprensible as it now seems, perhaps other poets besides Billy will even write poems from time to time before next year's Poemapalooza--but for now, Billy will keep (how many times can I say Billy in one paragraph?) and this one so bears saying:
The Word That Is A Prayer
One thing you know when you say it:
all over the earth people are saying it with you;
a child blurting it out as the seizures take her,
a woman reciting it on a cot in a hospital.
What if you take a cab through the Tenderloin:
at a stoplight, a man in a wool cap,
yarn unraveling across his face, knocks at the window;
he says, Please.
By the time you hear what he's saying,
the light changes, the cab pulls away,
and you don't go back, though you know
someone just prayed to you the way you pray.
Please: a word so short
it could get lost in the air
as it floats up to God like the feather it is,
knocking and knocking, and finally
falling back to earth as rain,
as pellets of ice, soaking a black branch,
collecting in drains, leaching into the ground,
and you walk in that weather every day.
© 2007, The Sun
Maybe when it rains where you are, you will look up and know that you are walking in the prayers, the plaintive "please" of us all. As will I. And maybe, just maybe, we can each--you and I--try to answer one of those prayers every day. It's not as hard as it seems. "Please let me in," the driver trying to enter the flow of traffic silently pleads, we slow. "Please don't tell," our friend says, and we don't. "Please water me," the plant says, and we do. "Please play with me," our child says, and we drop everything to do just that. Please do.
[image from here]