I have been thinking a lot about connection. The Pandemic has been hard for many of us. We have felt alone in our pain. We have been angry about vaccines and lockdowns, and frustrated with people who don’t share our masking beliefs. And it’s hard at times like this to find the balance between honoring our experience and our perspective while also recognizing our interconnectedness with all beings, irregardless of their perspective.
I think we can do both, or at least try. One of my favorite poems by Lucille Clifton explores the bond between all living beings. It is a short poem, and I include it here in its entirety:
by Lucille Clifton
curling them around
i hold their bodies in obscene embrace
thinking of everything but kinship.
collards and kale
strain against each strange other
away from my kissmaking hand and
the iron bedpot.
the pot is black,
the cutting board is black,
and just for a minute
the greens roll black under the knife,
and the kitchen twists dark on its spine
and I taste in my natural appetite
the bond of live things everywhere.
When I read this poem I am reminded to be kind, because we all know pain. I am reminded that I am not alone and that if I am sad or depressed, there is probably someone else out there who is feeling the exact same thing. And I am reminded to acknowledge the perspectives of all beings. And I am reminded to respect all creation and consider my connection to the natural world.
I bought some collard greens today; I think I’ll make them for dinner tonight.