Get some sleep
Like everyone else I know, I’ve been obsessing about the headlines, about France, about Syria. Closer to home, about homelessness. I came across this poem as I was sorting through papers in my writing cabin, and I thought it was good advice for such times. “Straighten up your room before you save the world. Then save the world.”
I think this is only an excerpt of a poem by Ron Padgett. I first saw it on Joan Chittister’s Benetvision website.
Get some sleep.
Eat an orange every morning.
Be friendly, it will make you happy.
Hope for everything. Expect nothing.
Take care of things close to home first. Straighten up your room
before you save the world. Then save the world.
Be nice to people before they have a chance to behave badly.
Don’t stay angry about anything for more than a week, but don’t
forget what made you angry. Hold your anger out at arm’s length
and look at it, as if it were a glass ball. Then add it to your glass
Wear comfortable shoes.
Do not spend too much time with large groups of people.
Plan your day so you never have to rush.
Show your appreciation to people who do things for you, even if
you have paid them, even if they do favors you don’t want.
After dinner, wash the dishes.
Don’t expect your children to love you, so they can, if they want to.
Don’t be too self-critical or too self-congratulatory.
Don’t think that progress exists. It doesn’t.
Imagine what you would like to see happen, and then don’t do
anything to make it impossible.
Forgive your country every once in a while. If that is not
possible, go to another one.
If you feel tired, rest.
Don’t be depressed about growing older. It will make you feel
even older. Which is depressing.
Do one thing at a time.
If you burn your finger, put ice on it immediately. If you bang
your finger with a hammer, hold your hand in the air for 20
minutes, you will be surprised by the curative powers of ice and
Do not inhale smoke.
Take a deep breath.
Do not smart off to a policeman.
Be honest with yourself, diplomatic with others.
Do not go crazy a lot. It’s a waste of time.
Drink plenty of water. When asked what you would like to
drink, say, “Water, please.”
Take out the trash.
THank you Bethany. I printed this out. love Abby
Abby — a note at the top of the page said, “Share this at Carolynne’s.” I’m so glad you saw it. Thinking of you, and your whole family, this week.
A friend shared this poem by W.S. Merwin, “Thanks” — a good thing to do when you get that glass of water: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/249954
Oh how soon I forgot that great poem with such good advice, simplicity in life, cleaning up our own room, before trying to save the world. Think I’ll go clean up the kitchen sink, before I make a simple turkey sandwich for a quiet lunch at home with my dog and husband. Thank you Bethany, wondering where you save all this good stuff – ah yes, straightening your cabin, before saving the world!
The Merwin poem is lovely. And I think that there is a poem, there, Carolynne, about the sandwich and dog and husband. Thank you for these comments.