Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Morning Poetry

a semi-secret garden

A Maxim

To live each day as if it might be the last
Is an injunction that Marcus Aurelius
Inscribes in his journal to remind himself
That he, too, however privileged, is mortal,
That whatever bounty is destined to reach him
Has reached him already, many times.
But if you take his maxim too literally
And devote your mornings to tinkering with your will,
Your afternoons and evenings to saying farewell
To friends and family, you’ll come to regret it.
Soon your lawyer won’t fit you into his schedule.
Soon your dear ones will hide in a closet
When they hear your heavy step on the porch.
And then your house will slide into disrepair.
If this is my last day, you’ll say to yourself,
Why waste time sealing drafts in the window frames
Or cleaning gutters or patching the driveway?
If you don’t want your heirs to curse the day
You first opened Marcus’s journals,
Take him simply to mean you should find an hour
Each day to pay a debt or forgive one,
Or write a letter of thanks or apology.
No shame in leaving behind some evidence
You were hoping to live beyond the moment.
No shame in a ticket to a concert seven months off,
Or, better yet, two tickets, as if you were hoping
To meet by then someone who’d love to join you,
Two seats near the front so you catch each note.

— Carl Dennis

I took this photo when we were Savannah in October about 4 years ago. It's one of my favorites.


Char said...


spread your wings said...

i love these words - it's great advice. and your photo is so nice - looking to the sunlight

Amy said...

It looks so magical!

Jo said...

Beautiful photo to go with these wise words. x

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

I really love it when the poem you share with us is one that I understand completely!

Leslie Avon Miller said...

It would never occur to me to tinker with will, or farewell away an afternoon. It only occurs to me to see the sunbeam visiting here today, to feel the silky fur of my purring companion, and to remember to tell me sweet that I love loving him.

Jennifer Richardson said...

Love has so many shades
and expressions.
Sometimes it looks like
buying a concert ticket for seven
months down the road.
And other times, like skipping the concert instead.
I love that we can just be
...and that's enough.
Just be...with a wide open barefoot heart!
(your photo reminds me to take off my shoes!)

Erin Wallace said...

What a beutiful photo, Relyn! The light in it is extraordinary.

xo Erin

Heart2Heart said...


Our minds must be on the same wave length today, your post is a poem and mine is a short article but they both share the same message.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Tracy said...

Relyn, I love your photo! I enjoyed the poem, as always, even though my Sunday morning had slipped into Sunday afternoon by the time I read it. It's a good reminder for me to quit tinkering around and DO something today. xxoo

lakeviewer said...

Ah, words to ponder over. Time is short.

Dorit said...

oh yes, that's what I keep telling my husband ;)

Elle Bee said...

Just lovely. Your photo looks like someplace I'd love to walk through.

Derrick said...

And a good maxim it is too, especially in Mr Dennis' interpretation!

Lubna said...

Beautiful. It is also a gorgeous photograph.

Tracy said...

LOVE this photo... and the image, Relyn. The sweetness of each pairing together so beautifully. "To live each day as if it might be the last..." That's my motto... :o) ((HUGS))

Marilyn said...

Two tickets for something special 7 months away, so special. For several years I did that for a lecture series never knowing who would go with me. I must do that again, it brought me great joy to anticipate.

smith kaich jones said...

yes, yes, yes!! I often think this - live each day like it is your last, but oh my! enjoy!!!
I am watching "The Big C" on Showtime and loving it. Fun! Get your weird back - LOL!

:) Debi

Jaime said...

Oh Relyn, what a beautiful image!!! I love the golden light and the shadow of the tree on the brick pathway. This is the kind of picture that makes you want to step right into it, peek around the corner and see what's out there.

Oldies, but Goodies