Inspired by Theo Dorgan's poem "The Angel of Days"*
And what did you do on earth?
I descended daily into the hush – if only for a moment,
but sometimes for blessed hours at a time.
I followed the shimmering threads which lured me
into the night, full of wonder at all that was unfolding.
I opened myself wide to gratitude,
to the delight that there was anything at all,
much less pink-petaled peonies
and generous handfuls of red berries,
the incredible sweetness of things,
or the way dawn and dusk could reveal
my own new thresholds,
how a walk by the sea can change
and that I could be so well loved, and love in return,
that I could dance on earth's forest floor
and say "yes" to life from the belly of sorrow.
And what was the best of it?
I was saved by beauty again and again,
the golden glimmer of sunlight
across wet pavement revealing a luminous world,
and the stone ruins of churches and monasteries,
with their arches of ancient longing holding
ten thousand prayers, ten thousand paths to hope.
And what would you have changed?
Only perhaps to have worried less about what might come,
which never did
in exactly the way I imagined.
And to spend less time in front of screens,
offering more of myself to the elements of wind and rain and mud,
to roll with playful abandon in the wet grass, the way dogs do.
And what will you do now?
I will reach across the veil and whisper the word
"remember" to anyone who will listen.
© Christine Valters Paintner
*I am taking a lovely writing class here in Galway with a new assignment each week. As a teacher of creative exploration, I love offering myself the gift of being guided by another and seeing what unfolds. Above is the first week's "assignment" – to write a poem inspired by another one we read. Essentially the italicized questions in this poem come from the one noted by Theo Dorgan