Sheer poetry

Last night my friend Uta and I caught a poetry reading at Open Book.

To my shame, I’ll admit that I don’t usually care for poetry. It often rings too abstract—or too self-consciously dramatic—and it usually leaves me cold. But my friend Chris had organized this reading, and my friends Pam and Michiela would be there too … so I couldn’t miss it.

I’m so glad I went.

Not only did I see the crowd of dear friends I’d expected, but I was also reunited with my old friend Rohan, whom I haven’t seen in almost two years. His exuberant greeting caught me happily off guard.

Chris and the poet—Tiziano Fratus—took turns reciting, first in English and then in Italian. And to my surprise I actually enjoyed the reading. It was a marvelous to hear the familiar English consonants juxtaposed with the poet’s mellifluous Italian.

One poem spoke to me in particular. What might St. Francis of Assisi do, if he were alive today?

… go to a supermarket on Oxford Street and give away everything: birth certificate, passport, house keys, car, works of art: resting on the precipice of time, imploding the complex equations of financial economics …

Those few spare lines spoke to a decision I’ve been contemplating more and more: What would I do if my days were numbered in the hundreds? Would I keep my job, for the sake of also keeping my health insurance? Or would I give away everything, and go follow my bliss until my time ran out?

It’s not easy to implode the complex equations of financial economics.

I’ll set that question aside for another day; maybe the answer will come to me when the time is right. For now, I’m content to have discovered a poet I actually like, and I’m grateful to have my friends.

In life, it’s the small pleasures that often matter most.

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