Thursday, November 9, 2017

Good Bones

Light in the Dark, 2017

Reading a poem like Maggie Smith's "Good Bones" presses hard, it leaves a bruise. But for me, what also rises to the surface is a sense of feeling grounded, walking on solid earth again. Such a relief, after treading so lightly, for so long, hiding from what I feared, or attempting to ignore it, desperately concentrating all energy on the good, the kind, the beautiful, but none of it ever really coming into focus, always distorted by that greasy smudge of fear. "Good Bones" just addresses it all, puts the fear and sadness and everything else right out there, makes us deal with it, but note how Smith ends the poem with the word beautiful. Terrible things are out there. Some of these things are within our control, many are not. Beautiful things are out there too. When I remember to acknowledge these conflicting truths, fear loses some its power, I can direct my energy, and it is possible to clearly see what is good again.

This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful. 

 Excerpt from Maggie Smith's poem, "Good Bones."

8 comments:

  1. This is so spot on. Thank you. xo

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  2. hey Denise! as someone who once bought a shithole with good bones, and did make it beautiful I say yes yes yes to all of this poem, brilliant and painful, so true, what we know, what we shield our loved ones from, beauty even in terrible things.

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    1. Of course you made it beautiful, Nancy. :)

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  3. I have read that poem now so many times and forwarded it to some friends. And for those few it hit very hard but was also received with joy. And my own joy filter is so often set in motion: it was my early saviour and now my guilty secret! Strangely ashamed to see the good as well as the bad... Kate (little house)

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    1. Hello, Kate. I'm going to read it again, right now.

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  4. Last night I was re-reading Leonard Koren's "Wabi-Sabi" and paused at the point where he writes about coaxing beauty out of ugliness. Beauty, he argues, is a dynamic moment between you and something else, and, for it to occur, one first must confront what is ugly. This thought, like the poem you shared, help me to illuminate the dark and mean in my soul and in the world.

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    1. I think Blogger might be losing it. I haven't been able to reply to a comment on my own blog. Grrr. It's been a long time since I read Koren's book, but your notes totally make sense to me. My most beautiful moments in life have often butted up against my darkest moments.

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