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Starfish by Eleanor Lerman

I don’t know anything. I am but a tiny speck in the universe who dared to make plans because I thought I needed to.

Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God, says Vonnegut. Today it felt more like jousting though.

I think you would say, things are unfolding as they should. Or: sleep on it.

How strange life is. Don’t you think?

Eleanor Lerman

This is what life does. It lets you walk up to
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman
down beside you at the counter who says, Last night,
the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?

Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the
pond, where whole generations of biological
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?
There is movement beneath the water, but it
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.

And then life suggests that you remember the
years you ran around, the years you developed
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have
become. And then life lets you go home to think
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.

Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life’s way of letting you know that
you are lucky. (It won’t give you smart or brave,
so you’ll have to settle for lucky.) Because you
were born at a good time. Because you were able
to listen when people spoke to you. Because you
stopped when you should have and started again.

So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland,
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel,
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.

Comments (2)

  • It’s just July over here T. and I have been away from this teeming City for as much time as possible so far, escaping to woods up North where old friends welcome me. Today’s poem is so simply comforting and calming, I will have to steal it and re-blog at my own site (and mention your site of course). You are a master of poem choice and storage, as prolific as, and ALP sites, but your selections so much more of consistent interest to me. So just to say thank you and wish you well.

  • A beautiful, brilliant poem. I enjoy your posts so much! Poetry is a much-needed vitamin for the soul in our way of living, and these poems are much-appreciated pearls of wisdom, beauty and deep significance.


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