Maybe It’s a Poem: Thoughts on All of Life

Alrighty, folks. I wrote to you a bit ago about my new welcome mat which reads,

Come on in,
We’re not ready

And I told you about the joy and angst it brings me. 

Joy because YES, THE DOOR IS OPEN even though WE’RE NEVER READY. Joy because COME IN, ANYWAY, and “ready” is overrated. Joy because we choose Welcoming the Wanderers over Pristine Pretend. And joy because there’s something intimate and vulnerable and real about allowing others to bear witness to the mess and the madness. 

But there was angst for me, too. SO MUCH ANGST when I saw…

Come on in,
We’re not ready

…BECAUSE THE PUNCTUATION ISN’T RIGHT. 

It should read:

Come on in.
We’re not ready.

or

Come on in;
we’re not ready.

or even, if one wants to play a little loose with punctuation, like I often do, but remain creatively within the realm of what’s acceptable:

Come on in —
we’re not ready.

And I realize I shouldn’t care, folks. Language, after all, is fluid and evolutionary, as constantly changing as a child, and as likely to go to school in ill-fitting, high water pants for weeks before his mommy realizes he’s utterly outgrown them. We ought to be more concerned with whether the message is understandable than we are with strict adherence to rules of grammar and punctuation. I mean, do we really not comprehend the meaning when people mix up you’re and your? Are we confused when they let us know something is over their? No. We understand perfectly; we’re simply the self-assigned arbiters of Correct Speech like the old, crotchety human who hollers at children to GET OFF MY DAMN LAWN. Except in this case, it’s KIDS THESE DAYS; DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE A DAMN SEMI-COLON. It’s not pretty, in other words. <— But I am like this! This is a legitimate struggle for snooty Grammar Nazis like me. 

Which is why Cherice’s comment stopped me in my tracks and made me gasp as a Bigger Truth suddenly dawned on me. 

After seeing…

Come on in,
We’re not ready

…Cherice’s response was, “Maybe it’s not bad punctuation — maybe it’s a poem.” 

MAYBE IT’S A POEM, friends.

Maybe it’s a poem. 

And maybe — probably — definitely — all of life is a poem, too, defined less by strict parameters and rigid compliance and more by movement, deeper meaning, and flow. 

There is a lilting quality to this life. A cadence. A pulse. A tempo. But so often we fail to recognize it as poetry; something beautiful and wild and purposeful exactly as it is. Instead, we watch life skip and trip and rise and fall — we watch life leave off without tidy conclusions or directions for where to pause or where to breathe — and we think, THAT DID NOT END RIGHT. Or I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHERE TO STOP OR MOVE FORWARD.  I think, perhaps, we’ve misunderstood the medium. We’ve insisted life is a thing that it’s not. 

Maybe it’s a poem. 

Do you think?

Maybe it’s a poem, after all.

With love,

 

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
6 comments
  1. I was sure I’d already commented, but since there’s no proof…
    1. That’s totally my motto *and* the reason I invited book group to eat dinner at my house tonight, even though there are piles of messes everywhere. We vacuum and dust and wipe down the counters, but I just counted 4 holiday decorations in the dining room (none of them tiny). If anyone notices, we’ll just call it preemptive decorating.
    2. I need to take this “maybe it’s a poem” idea and apply it to quite a few things. Thank you!

  2. I share your feelings about punctuation. Apostrophes are my personal obsession.
    However, my comment is about the pop-up ad that appeared as I was reading. Laughed out loud because I really thought the sunset smoochers were you and Greg. Beth blogging about flirty text messages to send. Bit of a change of subject from the poetry of life.

  3. I bought the same mat and had the same thought about the punctuation. But then I realized that it was a metaphor for its own instructions! My house isn’t perfect yet in the same way the punctuation isn’t perfect yet, but the message is “You mean enough to me for me share my imperfections with you.”

  4. Definitely a poem. I feel so much better now.

  5. Thinking it could be the refrain to a song…

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