Black Sea, Kyiv, Ukraine discussed on The Slowdown

The Slowdown


Was that? Probably because contentment itself feels like it's nearly impossible to achieve. When was the last time you felt it? Ask yourself, just truly content. How long did it last? What were you doing when you last felt content? The questions I'm posing almost feel dangerous to me. Dangerous in that in their asking, there's room for our realization that we have not been content or felt content in some time. Even if you have enough whatever enough means, you may not feel like that's true. We certainly aren't wired for satiety. Just a few days ago, I got an email from my host sister during my visit to Ukraine in the 90s. I couldn't believe it. I had been searching for her for years, but to no avail. And here she was. In my inbox, like some kind of miraculous good fortune. We haven't seen each other in 30 years, and here we were catching up over email about the jellyfish in the Black Sea, and how young we were, how much fun we had at the disco in canniff. And now she's experiencing one of the hardest times of her life. Worried each day, she may not make it home, or where a bomb will land. She lives in Kyiv, now with her husband, and our emails careen from old good memories to the terror of her current situation. I bring this up because I was having a lot of stress on the day that I received that email. I had family members who were sick, the pandemic continues. I kept feeling like I was letting people down by not responding to every email or request as fast as I could, or even at all. I was feeling low and suffering and that small way I'm sure many of you recognize. Then came this email from valia. And I started to cry. I had been so worried about her, and in our exchange, in the simple discussions of our elders, her father who had passed away, my grandmother, who is still alive. There was also the intense awareness of the state of war in which she was living. Through this exchange I was able to remember my own gratitude. I could be grateful for my life again. But how could any of us find contentment in the midst of war? Then I thought of this poem by the Turkish poet, Rousseau, honors. Lived his short life through the immense turmoil of The Great Depression and the start of World War II. And so the very worst of humanity and still somehow, by whatever poetry God gives us grace, managed to write this poem praising the world. The title in Turkish translated as contentment in English is mem nune yet. Contentment by Rousseau ornish, translated by huseyin, Al Hass, and ullas os gun. No harm. Would I pose? To the bee in its hive. To the bird, in its nest. I live in my own world. Under my hat. It is my contentment that makes me smile without reason on the streets. It is my heart. The source of this raving frenzy. I am not silent. I can't keep quiet. Like the dead, beneath the dirt. In the midst of this suite world. This slowdown is a production of American public media in partnership with the poetry foundation. This project is also supported in part by the national endowment for the arts. On the web at arts dot gov. To get a poem delivered to you daily, go to slow down show dot org and sign up for our newsletter.

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