I haven’t had my usual drive lately and there are projects littered across my desk and on my computer that I just don’t seem to have the energy to tackle. I’ve been neglecting regular exercise and wasting time on shallow pursuits that don’t benefit me or others. This morning I looked to the poet Mary Oliver for inspiration and found it in the third stanza of her poem Fourth Sign of the Zodiac.
I know, you never intended to be in this world.
But you’re in it all the same.
so why not get started immediately.
I mean, belonging to it.
There is so much to admire, to weep over.
And to write music or poems about.
Bless the feet that take you to and fro.
Bless the eyes and the listening ears.
Bless the tongue, the marvel of taste.
You could live a hundred years, it’s happened.
I am speaking from the fortunate platform
of many years,
none of which, I think, I ever wasted.
Do you need a prod?
Do you need a little darkness to get you going?
Let me be urgent as a knife, then,
and remind you of Keats,
so single of purpose and thinking, for a while,
he had a lifetime
When we were in Rome we visited the house where John Keats spent the last few months before he died of tuberculosis at age 25.
I stood in his bedroom and saw the alcove where he may have sat at a desk and penned some of his last writings.
As Mary Oliver reminds us Keats lived a short life but hardly a wasted one. He wrote lines of poetry that still inspire us.
A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Today a new week begins and I’m going to let John and Mary inspire me to make it a productive and positive one.