Monday, August 26, 2013

No One Thing (a poem)

No One Thing 

I am searching for no one thing

Not the next best thing
Not the last great place.

Oh, I peruse around for 
the best chocolate cupcake recipe
a full-bodied bottle of wine
cheap plane tickets to Florence
a handmade winter cap for my baby love.

Can I say these things?

can I say I'm a hedonist who 
adores the earth's beauty and
little things, like 
the gathered buzzing of bees 
drunk on nectar

bare feet on a cold stone floor,
drifting powerless clouds, and slow foods?

Can I say, with proper respect 
I'm not pushing up against anything?

Defining my space, at war for a cause
drawing a circle in the sand?

can I say the earth is dying everyday?

Will others become suspicious
if I do not join?
will they call me stupid and ignorant
of their god/theory/science?

Will I be thought of less, here, if I say these things?

That the world, our mother
is much bigger than
All our fears
that she will turn in time and 
her natural excavation 
will plow us under

Can I say this without being despised?

Can I say there is no It?
Can I say Shiva is not It?
Nor Jesus or Buddha?

Nor running marathons, publishing books, 
winning the lottery, feeding the poor, 
conquering a mountain, surviving illness.

With proper respect, 
can I say there is no one thing that will save us

nothing to search for, little to do?
What does it take to fill oneself up?

There are mountains beyond mountains
there are oceans beneath oceans
sky beyond claimed and unclaimed sky.

And do I think because 
I push around a 
single grain of sand,
I am special?
that I will never die? that I will live forever?

Can I do my work and still be happy?
Can I hold all the beauties and 
horrors of the world in my heart,

and still be spacious and loving?

Can I burn for life as well as strife
with reverence for all,

searching for nothing?

With proper respect, can I say there is nothing to save?

*Winner 2012 Alaska Statewide Poetry Contest


  1. Oh, Monica, I LOVE this poem. And yes, you can say those things. I believe in them, too.

  2. Thanks for taking a look, Susan. Something was stirring inside; leave it up to poetry to bring it to the surface.

  3. Oh Monica, this is truly beautiful. I love your mind.

  4. I love your thought provoking poetry and the pictures that go with the poems. I like to think, "Why did she chose that particular picture?" So the pictures create thoughts also. I think, reading your poems, that you have mastered the art of living in the present. In my world that makes you an earth angel. Can I say that? Pulling people into the present (from where we are wasting our time in the past and the future) is saving us. Thanks.

    1. Sometimes I pull photos from my library and write poems around the photos (often in an obtuse way); in this case, I felt a very strong pull to call out the desire to be a-political; to acknowledge that regardless of how the world is at any given moment in time, we are empowered with the choice to be accepting and just be with life, exactly as it is. I ask naysayers of all stripes for permission to do just that. Thank you, Riverwatch, for your thoughtful response.

  5. Loved this poem - such feeling. Love it.

  6. Thank you for taking a look, MaryAnn. My only goal is to stir an emotion in a deep way; so glad you were moved by my words!

  7. Truly beautiful, Monica! The honesty and compassion and soul in this piece is wonderful. I feel heard, uplifted and calmly more connected through these words. Thanks for having the courage to share this!

  8. Thank you so much, Susan. I appreciate your kind comments!

  9. Unaccountably, I'm thinking of Julian of Norwich and her (relatively) famous assertion that "all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well".

    As to your rhetorical and beautifully poetic questions - can I burn? can I do? can I say? - I think Molly Bloom had it right: "yes".

    1. i always enjoy your references; they serve to expand my understanding and perspective on things...thank you, Linda.

  10. This poem said just what I needed to hear, after a period of time in which a life event had focused my attention too much on the "one thing" I needed to do.

    1. Don't we vacillate between too much do to, and too much seeking with simply taking it all in and waiting...listening for a calling. All our questions will be answered...with patience (a ton of it in my case)! I hope you have found closure on whatever was grabbing your full & extended attention.