by: Charles Simic
I came here in my youth,
A wind toy on a string.
Saw a street in hell and one in paradise.
Saw a room with a light in it so ailing
It could've been leaning on a cane.
Saw an old man in a tailor shop
Kneel before a bride with pins between his lips.
Saw the President swear on the Bible
While snow fell around him.
Saw a pair of lovers kiss in an empty church
And a naked man run out of a building
Waving a gun and sobbing.
Saw kids wearing Halloween masks
Jump from one roof to another at sunset.
Saw a van full of stray dogs look back at me.
Saw a homeless woman berating God
And a blind man with a guitar singing:
"Oh Lord remember me,
When these chains are broken set my body free."
For the first time in a few weeks, nothing really calamitous has happened during my day. I haven't had to deal with any crises. No broken hearts to bandage. No school principals to call. No hospital rooms to visit. Today has simply been . . . quiet.
I typed that word with a little trepidation, because the day is not over yet. I still have to go to my daughter's choral concert. My wife is at an appointment to get our taxes done--that in itself could turn the rest of this day to shit. However, I am cautiously optimistic. Very cautiously.
Charles Simic's poem is a list of wonders in a way. Things that are everyday that don't happen every day. It reminds me that, in the midst of struggle and worry, there is still a cardinal outside my window, begging to be noticed.
Saint Marty is looking for cardinals on this quiet night.
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