Sometime Things Don’t go From Bad to Worse

Celebrating when things don’t go from bad to worse.

I love this small poem, although I understand through the grapevine that the poet wishes she had not written it. This is an unfortunate appraisal because sometimes it is accurate, and we need words for that, too. Things can still be bad but we get to celebrate that they aren’t worse. So, I went looking to find this poem and dedicate it to all those people and occasions where it has been true.

Sometimes by Sheenagh Pugh    (A link to Princton University)

Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail,
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes, our best efforts do not go
amiss; sometimes, we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen: may it happen for you.

 

And then I found this poem on gratefulness.org by a favourite poet

Improvement

The optometrist says my eyes
are getting better each year.
Soon he’ll have to lower my prescription.
What’s next? The light step I had at six?
All the gray hairs back to brown?
Skin taut as a drum?

My improved eyes and I
walked around town and celebrated.

We took in the letters
of the marquee, the individual leaves
filling out the branches of the sycamore,
an early moon.

So much goes downhill: our joints
wearing out with every mile,
the delicate folds of the eardrum
exhausted from years of listening.
I’m grateful for small victories.

The way the heart still beats time
in the cathedral of the ribs.

And the mind, watching its parade of thoughts
enter and leave, begins to see them
for what they are: jugglers, fire swallowers, acrobats
tossing their batons in the air.

 

Now, I want to keep going, finding more words to celebrate small victories that suddenly loom large. Let’s accept the small blessings that come our way and enjoy them while we can.

And one more –

I know I posted this poem in February, and want to do it again. Hopefully, you have forgotten it by now. :-)) Ada Limon is the current post laureate of the US

 

Wonder Woman Written by Ada Limón (If you click on her name, you can go to the Onbeing Project and hear the poem read aloud.)

“Standing at the swell of the muddy Mississippi

after the urgent care doctor had just said, Well,

sometimes shit happens, I fell fast and hard

for New Orleans all over again. Pain pills swirling

in the purse along with a spell for later. It’s taken

a while for me to admit, I am in a raging battle

with my body, a spinal column thirty-five degrees

bent, vertigo that comes and goes like a DC Comics

villain nobody can kill. Invisible pain is both

a blessing and a curse. You always look so happy,

said a stranger once as I shifted to my good side

grinning. But that day, alone on the riverbank,

brass blaring from the Steamboat Natchez,

out of the corner of my eye, I saw a girl, maybe half my age,

dressed, for no apparent reason, as Wonder Woman.

She strutted by in all her strength and glory, invincible,

eternal, and when I stood to clap (because who wouldn’t have),

she bowed and posed like she knew I needed a myth—

a woman, by a river, indestructible.”

From The Carrying by Ada Limón (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2018)

 

And I will bid you adieu with one quote from James Clear’s newsletter:

“Musician Nick Cave on the power of small actions:

“The everyday human gesture is always a heartbeat away from the miraculous.

Remember that ultimately we make things happen through our actions, way beyond our understanding or intention; that our seemingly small ordinary human acts have untold consequences; that what we do in this world means something; that we are not nothing; and that our most quotidian human actions by their nature burst the seams of our intent and spill meaningfully and radically through time and space, changing everything.

Our deeds, no matter how insignificant they may feel, are replete with meaning, and of vast consequence, and that they constantly impact upon the unfolding story of the world, whether we know it or not.”

Source: The Red Hand Files, Issue #216 (lightly edited for clarity)

​Notes

1:) I received an invitation for a free five-day winter reset with qigong teacher Munira Jiwa. I asked her if I could invite those interested to join. It is Monday Dec 11th- to – Friday the 15th for 30 minutes 7:00 am MT; 9:00 ET You can sign up here. She is an excellent teacher

2:)Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.”- Mary Anne Radmacher

3:) Thanks to my friend Patricia Ryan Madson for the little watercolour card. And thanks to all of you who join me here once a week. With deep gratitude, Trudy

 

8 replies
  1. Sabine Kaspari
    Sabine Kaspari says:

    And sometimes you simply have to accept the worse;-) Dear Trudy, I now should enjoy the company of my patchwork daughter in Sardegna whom I haven’t met for 4 years and have some more warmer days… When my husband and I were sitting in the airplane already, we thought “Now it cannot become worse.” As we had waited already 3 hours – it could: Finally, the flight was cancelled, we had to wait another 3 hours until the bus got us out of the plane and we finally found that our luggage would not come.
    BUT of course there was an even worse scenario: The captain could have tried to start and we could have crashed… I am happy to being safe home, the night on the hard airport floor was short and we were not the only stranded people. Peter found a coffee machine finally, we could buy some Brezel for breakfast, my son came with his friend’s big car (smaller once would not have a chance to win against all that snow) and we spent one night at his house together with my going to be daughter in law. Her father cooked us a wonderful meal, we played funny games and when we finally got home we could free my parents from all the snow that had come down:-)
    All together it was not so bad and I am delighted to being safe in our beautiful home, having a running heating system, enough to eat and to drink and a lot more – lucky me:-)

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Dear Sabine:
      Thank you for taking the time to post this lovely commentary. I appreciated your story and your mindset. A good reflection for all of us. Glad you had so many good moments in a challenging trip.Enjoy these beautiful days. Warmly, trudy

      Reply
  2. Janice+Falls
    Janice+Falls says:

    Oh my Trudy, what a richness you have offered us this morning, poems of optimism and gratitude and resilience, as well as Nick Cave’s wise words. Thank you dear woman, you are a fount of beauty. xoxo

    Reply
  3. Jean
    Jean says:

    Too sore and miserable to enjoy my Wed night bedtime read but reading it now has given me hope for better things tonight.such wise words to reflect on.thank you,dear friend for sourcing out such meaningful words.poetry is so powerful.

    Reply

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