Tag Archives: Optimism

Live and Learn

When I was five years old I thought

That I was pretty strong

Until I tried to lift my dad

And found out I was wrong.

When I was fifteen I figured

That I was pretty suave

Until I learned that suave’s a word

That doesn’t rhyme with “shave.”

When I was twenty five I thought

That I was pretty smart

Until I turned my car key

And the engine didn’t start.

And I suspect at thirty five

And forty five and older

The things I saw in my mind’s eye

I’ll see as a beholder.

I just hope at ninety

Or whenever death will dial

I’ll remember all the times I erred

Then look ahead and smile.

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Just About Life

Just about everyone has asked “What’s the meaning of life.”

Just about everyone has learned the answer.

What got lost was that they weren’t asking the right question

And the right question is:

“Have I ever been unhappy?”

If you say “no,” then you apparently know the meaning of life already

But just about everyone says “Yes, I’ve been unhappy.”

And the right question continues:

“Have I ever been happy?”

And if you say “no” then you need to keep reading

But just about everyone says “Yes, I’ve been happy.”

And the right question continues:

“So what happened that made you change

“From being unhappy to being happy?”

There are many answers to this question

And just about all the answers are correct:

When you were born and became distinct from mother, you were unhappy

And when mother held you you were happy

And so the meaning of life is to be held and loved.

When you were scared and confused and lost, you were unhappy

And when you got comfort, knowledge, direction you were happy

And these too are the meaning of life.

When you were sad, you laughed.

When you were alone, you fell in love.

When you were hungry you ate.

When you were tired you slept.

When you couldn’t go on, you kept going.

Every single time you’ve been unhappy you did something joyful.

Every time you were hopeless you hoped one more time

And when you couldn’t, the universe gave you hope from outside yourself.

The meaning of life is about becoming happy

And if you’re happy you can’t become happy.

Life is the opposite of unhappiness

And so happiness is life.

If you are unhappy, you are alive,

If you are happy, you are living,

And when you make your final choice in this life, choose to be happy again

Because just about everyone can.

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Worth Waiting For

One day a boy was throwing stones

At nothing in the wood

When he struck the belly of

A creature pure and good,

A unicorn of golden mane,

A thing so unexpected

He hardly knew what he could do

The moment they connected.

He knew just what the creature was,

For one cannot mistake

A unicorn for something plain,

An angel for a rake.

He laid his hands upon it

And for some time they were one

Until the moon had passed ahead,

The herald of the sun.

And when the boy had fallen

Into sleep, as boys must do,

The unicorn turned to the North

And took a step, then two,

And when the boy awoke again

His heart was full of light

As he looked for where the unicorn

Had cantered in the night.

At first he was uncertain,

Even fearful in his thought

For wherever he went looking

There the unicorn was not.

To chase it would be folly;

To lose it would be doom;

So he made himself be visible

And gave it lots of room.

He smiled while he waited

‘Til the smile hurt his face,

Then he cried and laughed alternately

And prayed aloud for grace.

The boy is waiting as we sleep,

For sleep we all must do,

Until he hears the hooves again

Come Southward, one, then two.

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Ordinary Things Can Be Special Too

Somewhere near you

There’s a puppy in a blanket,

A warm spot of sunlight,

A bright blooming flower.

You may never see them,

But still you are blessed

Because to look for them

Is your special power.

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Comfort Blanket

When the day is over

And the lights go dark

You pull me on top of you

And let me be soft,

Let me keep you warm

Until blindness is comfortable

And dreams are safe.

When the monsters come

To feed on your sweet dreams

Through the leg you left uncovered

I offer my dream instead,

Because your dreams are precious,

Your dreams are limited,

Your dreams are fragile.

I only have one dream:

To keep you warm,

To keep you safe,

To never leave you,

And no monster can stomach that.

And when the light in the sky

And the light on your ceiling

Edge away the darkness

And welcome you back to life

I’m the first thing you feel,

The first gentle touch,

The first good morning kiss.

You think you’ll outgrow me.

You’ll pack me away

Or send me to another child,

But I only have one baby.

And when the monsters grow up

And they come for your dreams

But you’re awake and alone

You will never be uncovered.

The monsters never give up,

But I never stop dreaming,

And I hope you don’t either.

I’m here in everything.

I’m keeping you safe,

But you’ll never see me

As anything more than a blanket

Because it’s easy to believe in a blanket.

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Superhero Anthem?

A figure flies along the streets

Of a city, black and grey,

Equipped with special armaments

With which to hunt her prey.

Her foes are public enemies

Called apathy and fear.

She strikes them down with not a frown

But a flash of wit and cheer.

Her only superpower

Is a total lack of worry

With which she slays uncertainty

In one most epic flurry!

Who is this maid of mystery

And what can she not do?

We cannot know for certain

But I hope she might be you!

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Very Grounded

The loyal tortoise ambles

Through a forest full of brambles

Where once a meadow full of flowers flourished,

Where once the stamens danced

And petals bright entranced

Now a harsher foliage is nourished.

The tortoise tries a bite

Of whatever plant’s in sight

Its mouth enduring savagery and pain

For the aged tortoise knows

That they who seek a rose

Will, in the process, find that thorns they gain.

The tortoise eats its pick

Though much may make it sick

In hopes of finding what it thinks is lost.

The tortoise chews and bleeds

Just to satisfy its needs,

To find its rose regardless of the cost.

Somewhere amid the brush,

In a pocket, dark and hushed,

A seed emerges from the salty soil.

Its leaves taste stale air,

But the seed does not despair

For beauty never grows bereft of toil.

Someday the rose will bloom

And emerge amidst the gloom.

Perhaps the tortoise finds it after all.

Fearless are the plants of old,

Or so another tortoise told

In tales to seeds and to the ones who crawl.

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The Event Of A Lifetime

They hosted a party

On the banks of the Styx

For the vice-presidents

And the second-round picks,

The guys who won silver,

Who went out with a flicker,

And all the cheerleaders

Who dated the kicker.

They hosted a party

For the closely defeated

To celebrate those

Who quite nearly succeeded.

I was invited

But stayed home instead

‘Cause I hadn’t stopped trying

And wasn’t yet dead.

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Talking to the Recruiter

What’s the best job in the army?

It’s Minesweeping, they say;

You do everything right for years

Then your problems go away.

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You Have It, But You Choose How

I share with you a secret

That you think cannot be true:

That everything to ever be

Exists solely for you,

That every book and every shell

And every coin and bill

And every star and sunrise

And every sloping hill

Exist as in a melody

From one eternal voice,

That you might seek to claim them

Through your only power: choice.

For if you choose to value wealth

Then wealth you will attain

Through labor, luck, investment,

Or through theft and threat of pain.

Perhaps you value honesty

And see all worldly truth,

Or perhaps you choose your body,

To sustain the light of youth.

But though the universe is yours

You cannot hold a star

For the heat of it would burn you up

(And also, it’s too far).

So too, if wealth should pass you by

Or youth and strength should wane

That too’s the gift of everything

Preventing unseen pain.

So if you wish to value

That which pleases most of all,

Don’t wish for that which others give

(Or to be six feet tall)

But choose to value where you are,

To dream only to be,

And you shall live in paradise

For all eternity.

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