One writer I admire is Hannah Stephenson, who blogs daily at The Storialist. She writes a new poem each day inspired by art that she views on the Internet. (There is a fascinating video of her drafting process here.) I read her blog every day – I am always amazed by her ability not only to draft a poem daily, but to draft well.
One of my favorite pieces of hers is called “Dance Stupider.” Here is the art that inspired her poem, a painting by Craig Hawkins. I read this poem on the day it was posted – two weeks before the holiday season, one week before winter break from school, everyone cranky and rushing about and generally exhausted from trying to do too much all at once. It was the perfect reminder to forgive myself for my imperfections, the perceived failure of not being perfect and thus being human. I shared it with many friends that day, and I would now like to share it with you.
Order a dish that you hate,
just to confirm that the bitterness
of radishes is still unpleasant.
Be late, but do not rush, do not
look at any announcement of time,
do not will anyone to be impressed
by your goodness or responsibility.
Forget the stamp on a birthday card,
and open it, weeks later, when it returns.
No one expects a four-tiered cake from you.
Stop furtively scouring the grout.
Let an unthinking part of you
steer for a stretch. When you recover,
nobody loathes you. Gloriously small
are our grievances against the self.