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Life Is a Found Poem

If you pay attention, the events of an ordinary day can come together as a found poem. That’s what Barbara Crooker has given us here — using her gifts as a poet to connect the dots.

The poem fascinates me partly because of its form. Writing it must have been a bit like piecing together a quilt!

In every other line, starting with the first, there’s a word that morphs into something different in the next line. So the “work shirt washed a thousand times” in line #1 becomes the “journey of a thousand miles” in line #2. And so on… It would be great fun to write a poem that way, so I’m going to try!

But my fascination runs deeper still, as the poem takes me down into the layered reality of life. That blue work shirt launches a meditation that makes many stops on the way down — ending with the constancy and mystery of the moon. As a bonus, there’s a lot of humor along the way!

So thank you, Barbara Crooker, for connecting the dots with a poet’s skill and sensibility. You help us see that, amid the seemingly random events of life, paying attention allows us to create patterns of meaning — making a strange kind of sense out of our experience while honoring its complexity.

Poem on a Line by Anne Sexton
“We Are All Writing God’s Poem”
by Barbara Crooker

Today, the sky’s the soft blue of a work shirt washed
a thousand times. The journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step. On the interstate listening
to NPR, I heard a Hubble scientist
say, “The universe is not only stranger than we
think, it’s stranger than we can think.” I think
I’ve driven into spring, as the woods revive
with a loud shout, redbud trees, their gaudy
scarves flung over bark’s bare limbs …

(Excerpted from Line Dance. Read the full poem here.)

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