If you try to comprehend air
before breathing it,
you will die.
If you try to understand love
before being held,
you will never feel compassion.
If you insist on bringing God to others
before opening your very small window of life,
you will never have honest friends.
If you try to teach before you learn
or leave before you stay,
you will lose your ability to try.
No matter what anyone promises–
to never feel compassion,
to never have honest friends,
to lose your ability to try–
these are desperate ways to die.
A dog loves the world through its nose.
A fish through its gills.
A bat through its deep sense of blindness.
An eagle through its glide.
And a human life
through its spirit.
A Question to Walk With: In conversation with a loved one or friend, discuss how you know when your spirit is talking to you.
Last month, Sounds True published a major collection of my poetry, The Way Under the Way, which contains three separate books of poetry, gathering 217 poems retrieved and shaped over the past twenty years. These poems span my life’s journey and they center on the place of true meeting that is always near, where we chance to discover our shared humanity and common thread of Spirit. The above poem is from the book.
For more poetry for the soul, click here.
For more by Mark Nepo, click here.
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