“We write poems” have asked us this week to write a conversational poem. When I started contemplating this prompt, it made me think of an exercise I used a lot when working as a Learning Mentor with primary school children. I asked them to close their eyes and visualise themselves going on a journey to find a wisdom being that lives in a cave. The wisdom being would then give them a present. I’d let them describe their journey, the cave, what the wisdom being looked like and what present they got and then draw a picture of it to keep. I told them that anytime they needed advice, they could go back to that place in their mind and ask the wisdom being for help and guidance. That way I hoped to enable them to access their own inner wisdom.
Today, I felt a bit down and found myself wondering what I could do to get rid of these negative feelings inside of me. I realised that everyone is doing this all the time: craving the good feelings and pushing away the bad ones. I then engaged into a conversation with my inner wisdom being about this and this is my attempt to present the resulting conversation in poetic form:
I don’t want bad feelings.
How can I only experience the good?
That’s a very good question
But how is it that you would
Even know what good feels like?
Don’t you need to know what’s bad?
I know good and bad, so I can compare
And I prefer feeling happy over feeling sad.
But how, without each other, could they even exist?
The sound of the alarm clock ripped through the reality of her dreams with the intensity of someone smacking her hard in the face. Irritated and annoyed she reached for the off button without opening her eyes. She just couldn’t find inside herself whatever was necessary to get up instead of turning the alarm off but she never really went back to sleep either. It was like someone had attached some sort of buoyancy equipment to her consciousness that pulled her up and out of the deeper layers of sleep as soon as she went under. By the time she finally dragged herself out of bed, she was even more tired, angry at herself for not just getting up and obviously late and under pressure to get ready for work.
Every morning started like this. She woke up grumpy, irritated and already on the back foot before the day had begun. She could never understand how some people joyfully jumped out of bed in the morning and in addition sang or whistled a jolly tune that accompanied them on their way to the bathroom. She envied them.
This morning, just to add insult to injury, the milk had gone off over night so she couldn’t even fit a coffee in. She left the house and walked to the station completely weighed down by the dark clouds on her mind and almost didn’t notice the new advertisement they put up opposite the station’s entrance. “Not a morning person?” it shouted at her in big letters and portrayed a woman not unlike herself first thing in the morning with wild hair, scrunched up eyes and a grim, almost desperate look on her face. It was like looking in the mirror with the difference that she had now changed from pyjama to work clothes, done her hair and put some make-up on. Weird, she thought and went closer to try and make out what it was actually about. It was an advert to encourage self-employment. “Choose your own working hours, be your own boss...” “Pfff...” she huffed to herself and the miserable mood, only momentarily interrupted by a moment of surprise, clouded back over her.
3 hours, 2 coffees and a seemingly never ending stream of mind numbing work tasks later she found her mind going back to that advert. Not a morning person. No, she thought, she wasn’t but neither had she planned on becoming self-employed. She looked around over the open plan office space in which she had her desk. The quiet atmosphere in this room full of people suddenly seemed eerie and unreal. As if along with the oxygen all life had been sucked out of it and replaced by the gassy discharges of human bodies, reeking of dissatisfaction. She grabbed her coat and decided to take her lunch early.
Outside it was raining and because she wasn’t really hungry yet she decided to stroll through the shopping centre and grab a sandwich on the way back. She walked towards the bookshop to browse some of the new books on offer when her eyes fixated on a book in the window. “Positively negative – how knowing who you are NOT can help you find out who you are!” it said in bold letters on the cover. She walked inside and asked to have a look at the book. It was one of those psycho crap books she naturally loathed, a workbook type with several exercises to follow in order to find one’s “true calling”. She didn’t know what had come over her that made her walk to the till and buy it but on the train home she started reading it and actually enjoyed where it was taking her.
When she passed the advertisement outside her station she winked at her mirror image with a smile.