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05 April 2008

Poets help us love the bump on our nose

Rainmouth

Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own. -Salvatore Quasimodo

Someone who reads 37days wrote last week to ask about my perfect life. How did it become so perfect?

Mr Brilliant rushed into the room to see if I was okay. I was laughing so hard that I choked on my own spit.

My life is perfect only in its embrace and absolute celebration of imperfection. I can't find my keys or my car, I have days and even whole weeks and months of sheer insignificance like you do, my holiday cards for the past two years sit unmailed (don't they Mama?), I've been paying for TiVo for too long to tell you and I still can't figure out how to hook it up, and I'm down to one pair of matching socks, one of which has gone missing. And, oh, so very much more that I cannot say out loud.

And so, when Chris Meissner and her tiny but strong friend Piaf sent this poem to me this morning, I recognized my way through it immediately. Here's to blessed imperfection!

Imperfection

I am falling in love
with my imperfections
The way I never get the sink really clean,
forget to check my oil,
lose my car in parking lots,
miss appointments I have written down,
am just a little late.

I am learning to love
the small bumps on my face
the big bump of my nose,
my hairless scalp,
chipped nail polish,
toes that overlap.
Learning to love
the open-ended mystery
of not knowing why

I am learning to fail
to make lists,
use my time wisely,
read the books I should.

Instead I practice inconsistency,
irrationality, forgetfulness.

Probably I should
hang my clothes neatly in the closet
all the shirts together, then the pants,
send Christmas cards, or better yet
a letter telling of
my perfect family

But I’d rather waste time
listening to the rain,
or lying underneath my cat
learning to purr.

-by Elizabeth Carlson

[image from aphotojourney]

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Amen, hallelujah, and thank the heavens that imperfection is the perfect way for most of us to live our lives!

Such an important goal for all of us to strive for....being comfortable, even rejoicing in our own imperfections.

Thanks for the clarification about your perfectly imperfect life Patti! Too often through our blogs, our Christmas letters and those 'public faces' we all put out there, we think we're the only one who's life is chaos. When people like you, let people like me and everyone else see that none of us has the perfect life (and just what is perfect, anyway!), it gives us all permission to breathe a little deeper, relax a little more and realize we really are OK...just as we are. Lovey poem!

Both your post and the poem resonated with me. Thank you for sharing them.

what a great poem - and that striving for the perfection is such a huge waste of energy. Its much better to be 'splendidly imperfect' as Sark puts it. Have splendidly imerfect dinner parties, splendidly imperfect houses.

yes, yes, yes! i love this poem and your post. i have come to realize that one of the sources of my unhappiness or dissatisfaction with my life comes from my striving to make it 'perfect'. from my house to my marriage to myself-- i have got to admit that perfection is a completely unattainable goal in this life. i am striving to embrace imperfection in all its forms. i am a human being. life is beautiful and complicated. i need to just let it be!

What a wonderful poem! And one I really needed to hear. The book, "There Is Nothing Wrong With You" by Buddhist teacher Cheri Huber has meant so much to me, and has helped so much with self-acceptance - until I forget. I might just need to print this poem out!

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