Thursday, March 12, 2015

leniency

Here is today's Tupelo Press 30/30 poem for today. Today's word of the day from the NY times is Leniency. I like how the word is hard and soft at the same time--it's like a legal, formal term, but the meaning connotes a softness, an ease, a lightening. The poem is based on a conversation that I had with my son about a course I'm developing at work about ergonomics, a topic I knew/know very little about. It unfolded into something quite wonderful (the conversation, not the poem), and it seems to fit with today's word, at least in my mind that is constantly looking for synthesis.

The poems I write for my children seem to always be a bit more accessible and possibly sentimental. It is what it is, I guess, for better or for worse. If you like it, please give to Tupelo Press! (And don't forget to put my name in the comments section.)

leniency
for Eliot

Until now, we've never really understood ergonomics, how it has to do with a body in a space, how it strives to find a fit between your body and the space it's in, the work it does. We talk about floating in water, and I imagine how his body would feel, how the space would fall in around him in cold, uncertain terms. It must be dark, I say. You see it more like an expansion, how every part of the space is accessible, how he can go up or down or all the way over. It's like you can fly, you say. Together we list how people work in different spaces: astronauts, fishermen, airplane pilots, factory workers, NFL players, software engineers, fast food workers, teachers, farmers, postmen and postwomen, chemists, the people who change the lightbulbs in the White House. Their space, their work.

You start to think about your own space, your chair at school, the slope of the playground slide, the long sessions of standing in hallways as the little kids pass by, how you sit on the floor in music class. You finally decide that you both fit and don't fit at the same time, that you have grown beyond so many of the spaces that you used to fit in, that you can even see a former version of yourself in the kindergarten chairs and jungle gyms. There are new places to climb now, you say. And now you move ahead, carving out, carving away what will be a new space for your body, your work, your mind that can't stop finding new heights.

1 comment:

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