13 Sep
Posted in: Poems
By    Comments Off on The Way It Slows You Down

The Way It Slows You Down

bridgeSometimes things don’t go the way you want them to. Sometimes you handle this well. Sometimes you don’t.

It’s helpful to remember it’s not really about feeling comfortable, or successful, or right, or whatever… it’s really about staying present with whatever arises, seeing what leads to suffering, and acting on that.

As best you can.

by Tony Hoagland

I was feeling pretty religious
standing on the bridge in my winter coat
looking down at the gray water:
the sharp little waves dusted with snow,
fish in their tin armor.

That’s what I like about disappointment:
the way it slows you down,
when the querulous insistent chatter of desire
goes dead calm

and the minor roadside flowers
pronounce their quiet colors,
and the red dirt of the hillside glows.

She played the flute, he played the fiddle
and the moon came up over the barn.
Then he didn’t get the job,–
or her father died before she told him
that one, most 
important thing–

and everything got still.

It was February or October
It  was July
I remember it so clear
You don’t have to pursue anything ever again
It’s over
You’re free
You’re unemployed

You just have to stand there
looking out on the water
in your trench coat of solitude
with your scarf of resignation
lifting in the wind.


(No, I didn’t lose a job or anything like that. I just got an unwelcome visit from an old, habit pattern.)

Comments are closed.