As published on LinkedIn Influencers on January 14th, 2021.
Well, 2020 is officially behind us. This is not to say that the problems that plagued us in one calendar year magically disappear with the turn of a page, but for me, this has always been a time to hit the refresh button. For the past several years, I have posted a New Year’s resolutions article, wherein I take some time to reflect on the year that was, and look forward to the year that might be. That said, 2020 was so unlike any other year for so many reasons. It certainly was a challenging one for me on a personal level for many reasons, and so this year I wanted to do something different – share a poem! While I have written poetry for as long as I can remember, 2020 was a year where not only did I write a lot of it, but I read a lot of it as well. Last year made poetry a necessity for me, and it showed up right at the top of my self-care list. There are so many great quotes that ask, why poetry? And especially, why poetry now? Below are a few of my favorites before I share with you my poem to start a new year.
“Poetry,” Audre Lorde tells us, “names the nameless so it can be thought.” This is pulled from my favorite poetry podcast, and said in the most beautiful of accents by one of the most beautiful, thoughtful, amazing humans I have ever met, Pádraig Ó Tuama.
And this, pulled from another podcast from another one of my favorite humans, Krista Tippett. Martin Farewell said this: “I think poetry evolved to save us from ourselves. It questions our understanding of what it means to be human and, in the process, deepens our humanity. History teaches us — and the daily news reminds us — how easily we forget what it means to be human. Probably no other art form is better than poetry at getting us directly inside another’s mind, experience, perspective. The ability to imagine someone else’s inner life is where compassion begins.We could certainly use more of that nowadays.”
Krista goes on to interview Jericho Brown and leads with this quote: “Only the creative mind can make use of hope. Only a creative people can wield it.”
My poem ends hopeful, so please consider sticking with it until the end. I hope you enjoy the poem, and please feel free to share your favorite one or ones in the comment section.
My Dancing Dreams
My dreams As a child Untamed and unmanaged Without boundaries Limited only by my imagination The dance, begun Wild, so wild Free, so free My dreams As a teenager A young adult Such a driving force Inviting courage and audacity Only supportive and always unquestioning My invisible companion leading me boldly forward into the rewarding place of achievement I learned steps, moves But the choreography Was all mine But with age And change of circumstance Comes responsibility True and imagined Responsibility real and perceived and its dance partner accountability A salsa turned into a waltz With time, and thoughts, and people and things The thing about dreams is that If we try to control them Manipulate them Manage them They become something they were not meant to be But.... And .......2020 A year for me, for many, for most Where dreams disappeared or, got put in a corner Even our tamed dreams This year, 2020, like no other that came prior taught me many things important things life changing things needed...................things I took pause, maybe you too took pause I turned away from my hopeful dreams, ignored them, hid from them and them from me and then, finally When I realized how much I missed them, needed them, I invited their return I called out to them, loudly, "please come back" And they did I received them. I listened to them. I learned from them. What my dreams taught me is that at some point I surrounded them with rubber bands Designed to tame their reach They stretched and then snapped back Based on so many things That should not really have affected them And yet They did .............. they do That is on me For I am the one who bound them I am the one who said "too big" "too unformed" "too ......" or “no no, not now” “maybe.. later” Or “one day” But ahhh… 2020 Teaching me, maybe teaching you, that one day may in fact mean Never But ahh... 2020 Teaching me that dreams contained are not living into their purpose Dreams Are meant to be big and wild and driving and energizing Not small and captured and passive and painful But that is what 2020 tried to do to all of our dreams By trapping us in our homes, the temptation set in to trap our dreams too And of course, responsibility and accountability were our dance partners more so than usual And they invited fear to the floor And they invited fear to the floor too... I get it, I was in it, and it happened They were all my unwanted companions I stopped dancing Maybe we all Stopped dancing But as we shed the memory of a year filled with pain and suffering and loss and constraints Let us let our dreams out Let them lead Let them invite our company once again Knowing Of course That much of what was true in 2020 is still true So much suffering and isolation is still present We remain in our homes But our dreams can leave Our hope can leave Still attached to us Not by rubber bands but by kite string A sky full of my dreams and your dreams Dancing separate and together Colorful and abundant Pushing away the dark clouds that have surrounded your home, and mine So take leave dear dreams For you must Let me open the door for you And I will follow And we both We will all Be free...