for J.C.

For many years you don’t get it.
You know you haven’t gotten it.
But there’s still time and
maybe you’ll get it.

You cultivate the persons, places,
things that appear to have it.
What you get there is proof
that you still don’t get it.

It’s above you, beyond you.
It’s all Greek, which you don’t speak.
You need more experience,
you need more education.

You need the magic formula,
the password, the key.
You need a teacher, a mentor,
a confidante, confessor, referee.

You have tried hard,
been nice to people–
maybe nicer than you should.
How long can this go on?

Until you don’t care anymore.
Then in a desert breeze,
a written word, a flower’s heart,
you hear the temple gong:

you already have it,
you’ve had it all along.

Originally posted in July 2013

62 responses »

  1. Hi Cynthia ,when someone don’t get it he will never will .There are those to whom l say “it’s a bull.” they still say” milk it.” They don’t get it.Regards Jalal

    They don’t get it. They think the bull is a cow.

  2. I feel like you climbed inside my head and pulled out my thoughts and realizations and put them into words with this poem. It’s wonderful to see the connection with other creative people expand what we each are feeling and experiencing. Love this poem!

  3. This poem definitely captures the “earnestness” or the desire to improve one’s character that I probably carry as my default when it comes to personality. Every now and then, for brief moments, I think I get it…but I usually, pretty much always, don’t : )

    a wonderful poem

    a flower’s heart

  4. On a re-read: I hear the tinkle of little bells (get it, get it…), slowly growing richer and deeper with the striking of a tam tam (mentor, a confidante…), until the final booming of the gong. Beautiful!

  5. A wonderful poem. There’s much wisdom to be found in no longer caring. I have found such freedom in my late 40s/early 50s.

    But I still don’t get statistics even though I don’t care, haha.

    • I think it happens around that time for a lot of folks. Statistics? As long as they only describe, I’m fine. When they start to extrapolate and prescribe…well, then, that’s when I’m totally with Babe”s “take” on them.

      Thanks, beeblu. (And I’m glad to hear you’ve been enjoying my book!)

  6. I should have gone to bed hours ago. For rather than radiant revelation and a subsequent lifting of the spirit, I’m picturing a dejected black hat, who has been trying ever so hard to learn safecracking and other dastardly deeds. Or a hacker, up to even bigger and badder badnesses.

    And yay! Now they finally get it! Whoo-hoo!!

    I’m headed for sleep now, to dream up some virtual obstacles to put in their path, and to dream away the teacher, mentor, confidant, confessor, or referee of the next troublemaker.

  7. I had it, then lost it, and as my calvity made a beacon of me in a crowded room of twenty somethings, I tried the formula. Then paradise was regained (my friend Milton said so); I had long tresses. Absentmindedly I lost the formula, and glistened anew. One day, fortuitously, I remembered the formula. Now I look like Willie Nelson.

    • Having, then losing, can be very disconcerting, but there could be worse disconcerts than looking like Willie Nelson. I rather like the bandanna and the braids; at least he doesn’t look like just another Q-tip passing by. Or, if you don’t feel right about the braids, there’s always the monkish look: tonsure with bangs all around. Then you might be taken very seriously as a holy man.

  8. You always “get it” Cynthia and in such a straight-forward way. I quietly “get it” and sometimes I’ll divulge that I’ve gotten it, sometimes I get it and never let on – a way I suppose of using my Gemini twins. And then there are the times when I just don’t get it and the gong does its part – ah, ha!

  9. Cynthia, I enjoyed this a lot! It’s true on so many levels: trying to be “with it” socially, intellectually, or in our appearance to others – all the way to our search for a so-called “nirvana” or peace. We search on the outside when all the while it’s right there at our center – our own wisdom and knowing. Then (hopefully) we finally find the freedom to be eccentric, to not worry about what others think, to no longer be “with it” as others define that. It’s sort of a “red hat lady” revelation, only your poem goes much deeper and higher where we don’t need to join anything. We can let go of all expectation and relax as our real self emerges. Then we “get it” that we’ve already got it. πŸ™‚

    • I really enjoyed reading your comment, Betty. Your mention of the red hat ladies made me smile. I wonder if it’s something like moving out of adolescence, finallyj— you know that terrible need to conform or sit at the popular kids’ table that seems to hit people in their high school years, and crushes those who don’t “succeed” socially. It’s almost as if you need to learn to be conventional so that you can evolve and learn in later years not to be squelched or defined by it. Anyway, it looks like you really get it, and I’m glad! Thank you.

  10. When I was in a treatment centre for alcoholism I came across, for the first time, reference to getting rid of all the ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ I had pounded myself with all my life. I am still working on it but have come a long way and I really like the ‘me’ I am coming home to! “Where have you been?!” she says 😊.

    I love the profound simplicity of this poem Cynthia

    • I keep discovering that some of the simplest things are quite profound.

      I seem to have learned, somewhere in my travels round the mulberry bush, that you are having a book launch gathering coming up this week. It will be wonderful, I’m sure. I’ll be thinking of you.

      • Ha! Yes I am Cynthia. All the idea of my writing tutor who, when I expressed alarm, fear and a hundred other reactions, said he would be delighted to host it for me. He suggested a small event not particularly to sell the book but to celebrated it. I felt that to decline this geneous offer would be rather silly. He is a wonderful poet, very well known and respected in the north of England, and to top it all a very very lovely man. So here I am, five days away from this event. It will be a very special evening for me as I never expected I would ever be doing such a thing, and Glenda from the group who also has MS will be reading a couple of poems too. All I need to do now is be well, because at the moment Im struggling with migraine/MS fatigue. Fingers crossed. 😊

  11. I read/listened to this with chuckling pleasure – all the sentiments so recognisable. I love the stretched words and the chopped words, which come over so well in your reading. Much pleasure, thank you.

    • The stretched words and the chopped words…..I like your way of putting that. It’s really always about the management of words, and gratifying when it works. And, of course, pleasure in a reader is my pleasure!

  12. I had a feeling it would end with a moment of getting it, but you took an unexpected twist that I didn’t expect. Well done … and thanks your showing you’ve got it … but I knew that.

    • I can see by your work that you are, Karen….the moment eventually comes when it’s you, solo flight, and it looks like you’re about ready! Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • How nice to find your comment here, Sylvie. I have been enjoying visits to your blog. Though at one time I was totally immersed in learning and teaching French language and literature, I’ve been away from it for many years. It’s a treat to get that part of the old brain working again, by reading your poetry in French! Thank you. πŸ™‚

  13. I read the “getting it” in your poem as getting comfortable in your skin. Stop running after external validations. Once you get comfortable in your skin, you “get it”. I hope I read it right.

  14. I was pursuing what elusive goal I don’t know until I read “you already have it,
    you’ve had it all along.” Now I also think of this quote I read somewhere: “I was looking for the key for years but the door was always open.”

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