I’m a big fan of the concept of eventually. Eventually, I’ll get my craft room organized. Eventually, I’ll teach the girl to cook. Eventually, I’ll learn to keep up with my grading so I don’t have to read student papers until I’m nauseated and angry. Eventually I’ll weed the garden an fix that fence that wobbles and replace the screen door which blew off in a windstorm at least four years ago.
Just as I finished the above paragraph, a colleague brought a poem into my office, handed it to me, and walked out. I think the point I was trying to make has been trumped, and so I present the poem for you. Meanwhile, I’m going to think about how eventually, I’m going to clean my office.
A poem by Kate Green, from the book If the World is Running Out.
Don’t Make Your Life Too Beautiful
Don’t fix the three-foot hole in the plaster
over the stairway.
Don’t sweep up the tiny specks of white
that gather in dust like stars.
Leave the hole under the fence
the dog dug in the marigolds
that never flowered.
You can look for hours at the pile
of shingles your neighbor ripped off his roof
and left to mold the green summer
with plenty of dark underneath for the beetles
and the worms to damp in.
Leave the rocks imbedded in odd places in the lawn.
And the black locust you cut down year after year–
you can let it become a tree after all,
towering thorns over the lilies and the peonies.
Look out the cracked window–
that broccoli just kept blooming
until the ice came down
and made us bend over our hands
in search of something we held and lost.
Leave it all exatly as it is.
There are heartaches enough to live for.
Leave the old worn boots stacked in the hall,
the rotten mattress in the flagstone basement.
Live out your ecstasy on earth
amid the flaking patio stones,
the boarded up back door
and the rusty car.