Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June’s long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You’ve seen the refugees going nowhere,
you’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth’s scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
-To Try to Praise the Mutilated World by Adam Zagajewski
The world is a mess and in this moment all of that mess we could pretend did not exist is drawn sharply into our field of vision. We can not ignore the mutilated world with its scars of corporate and personal greed, with its broken systems of support. It is mutilated with our tolerance of poverty, allowing people to hang on the edge of survival. It is mutilated with a cultural commitment to individualism rather than the community.
And yet, and yet, there are strawberries and acorns in the autumn park, there are feathered birds and drops of rose. There are moments where we are connected, draw together across what is broken in you and me. Today take a minute to in the midst of worry about what is mutilated, to list a few of the small beautiful promise that show us who we can be and what really matters.
To Find a Steady Center is a daily poem and meditation to offer a short, good word to those who are anxious, fearful or lonely and who might need a gentle word of hope, encouragement or perspective during social distancing.