13 Aug
Posted in: Poems, Talks
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Maybe I Overdid It

Last night the Dharma Seed KM group listened to a great talk by Phillip Moffitt called The Metta of Awareness and the Awareness of Metta. It was the final talk given at the Nature of Awareness retreat at IMS earlier this year. This is the second time I’ve listened to this talk and, well, let’s just say I’m pretty sure I’ll be listening to it again and again.

Phillip uses poetry quite a lot in this talk, especially selections from the Four Quartets by T. S. Eliot. But he also uses more “conversational” poems, including this one, which I offer as an incentive to click here and listen to Phillip’s talk!

Phone Call by Tony Hoagland

Maybe I overdid it
when I called my father
an enemy of humanity.

That might have been a little strongly put,
a slight over exaggeration,
an immoderate description
of the person who at that moment,
two thousand miles away,
holding the telephone receiver six inches from his ear,
must have regretted paying for my therapy.

What I meant was
that my father was an enemy of my humanity.

And what I meant behind that was that
my father was split into two people.
One of them, living deep inside of me,
like a bad king, or an incurable disease,
blighting my crops, striking down my herds, poisoning my wells.

The other, standing in another time zone,
in a kitchen in Wyoming,
with bad knees
and white hairs sprouting from his ears.

I don’t want to scream forever.
I don’t want to live without proportion,
like some kind of infection from the past.

So I have to remember the second father,
the one whose TV dinner is getting cold
while he holds the phone in his left hand
and stares blankly out the window

where just now,
the sun is going down
and the last fingertips of sunlight
are withdrawing from the hills
they once touched like a child.

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