Thoughts From A Train 10.28.21
Horsens to Copenhagen
It is a fine Autumn day and this train will cross the massive bridge and tunnel system between the major islands that comprise Denmark as I head back to the capital city.
Yesterday, while trying to accomplish way too much in Aarhus, I popped into a Kaffebar near the public swimming hall that had a poem on the wall. I was entranced by it. The shop keeper, a kind woman who was baking her own bread, did not know who wrote it. I took a picture of it to send to some friends, one of them being @langhorneslim , who shared it on his Instagram page. Within 24 hours, some 2000 people had seen it. Many commented on the power it had and shared it themselves. Many, including Langhorne Slim, asked who the author was.
The poem said this:
Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with it’s yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, of left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
The seamless and gleeful spreading of a single poem got me thinking about the realities of those who use their fame, or power, if you will, for acts of love, kindness, and empathy, verses those who use it to spread lies and misinformation.
Later on in the day, when I should have reading my book but decided to look at my phone, I happened to see a video clip of an American citizen at a political event who unabashedly asked a candidate “when can we use the guns?” He really wanted to know what line will have to be crossed before we can “kill them,” with the them being Democrats or liberals. Because of the lies told about so called stolen elections and because of the media helping to fan those flames, this man wanted to know when it was going to be time to kill. This is a very extreme case of why we need more people in the middle, reaching out to pull up those who are on the edges, falling into the abyss of fear.
It turns out that the writer of the poem was Louise Erdrich, a contemporary poet who owns Birchbark Books & Native Arts in Minneapolis. She has written several books and is a enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. She writes a lot about Native rights and how our government turned away from treaties and behaved despicably. From a great distance, and right up close, it is sad to see that these same, greedy and hateful forces are very much active in our government today, attempting to separate us control us and label us as “those people” and do almost anything in regards to playing dirty pool to prevent their side from losing power, which it slowly and surely is.
I thank those who use their voices to shine a light and lift others up. What will you do with your power and voice? Who will you help have a better day today? I can go from absolute elation to feeling like life and work are useless within a twenty-four hour period, and then back again. Sometimes I just need a sandwich! Without someone checking in on me I may have drifted way into the dark. This happens to all of us. I appreciate you lifting others out of the darkness, otherwise we’d all stay down there, angry, confused, pointing fingers. Check in on someone today and lift them up. It is very simple to do, and effective. It is nice to see how one poem written on one continent and then printed on the wall of another continent can do so much to ease the mind and push out the darkness. #poetry