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Dude! Don't Mangle the Poem!

27 Sep

Hello again.

I recently came across a poem of mine, posted on somebody’s blog. The blogger was generous with praise and credit, but the poem was slightly mangled, re-titled and the spacing and line arrangement had morphed into something unrecognizable. Some words had even been excised.  This may not have been this blogger’s doing - she could have found it this way

The poem is actually copyrighted intact in Maggie Oman’s lovely collection - recently reissued by Conari Press -Prayers for Healing: 365 Blessings, Poems, & Meditations from Around the World. 

[As a sidebar, if any of you want to see all the ways you’re being misquoted, trashed, bootlegged or yes, even tricked out as a ringtone, simply enter your name in Google Alert ), and you too can be aggravated by their daily reports…]

Now, truth be told, since the advent of the internet, just about everybody’s gotten used to being misquoted - it’s kind of like the whispering game, Telephone, we used to play as kids, where, by the time you get to the last person in line, the original message is unrecognizable.  And with prose and ideas, my feeling is, hey, as long as somebody gets the gist right and doesn’t make me look like a complete moron, I’m grateful for their help in getting an idea out there.  

But there’s something about changing a poem that gets the little hairs on the back of my neck sticking straight out.  I suppose it’s because with a poem, you work to get just the right word, placed in just the way you meant, to convey just the right nuance of a meaning - or so you hope.  

So, even though I understand the impulse to make upgrades, you kind of want to say,“Hey, Dude!  Don’t change the poem!  Write your own damn poem!  Leave my poem alone!”

So here, just for the record, is the correct, unexpurgated, original poem - like it or hate it, but please don’t mess with it!


Just give me this:
A rinsing out, a cleansing free
Of all my smaller strivings
So I can be the class act God intended,
True to my purpose,
All my energy aligned behind my deepest intention.

And just this:
A quieting down,
A clearing away of internal ruckus,
So I can hear the huge stillness in my heart,
And feel
How I pulse with all creation,
Part and parcel of Your great singing ocean.

And this too:
A willingness to notice and forgive
The myriad times I fall short,
Forgetting who I really am,
What I really belong to.

So I can start over,
Fresh and clean,
Like sweet sheets billowing in the summer sun,
My heart pierced with gratitude.

Belleruth Naparstek, 1997,Prayers for Healing: 365 Blessings, Poems & Meditations from Around the World.  Maggie Oman, Editor. Conari Press, Berkeley, CA, Reissued 2008.

Thanks.  Got that off my chest.  And had a little fun with it, too.

Take care, be well,