In “Your Mind is Your Religion,” published in
Tricycle, Lama Yeshe writes, “How do you check
your mind? Just watch how it perceives or interprets
any object that it encounters.
Observe what feelings—comfortable or
uncomfortable—arise. Then check, ‘When I perceive
this kind of view, this feeling arises, that emotion
comes; I discriminate in such a way. Why?’ This is
how to check your mind; that's all. It's very
noticed that writing poems seems to invite this kind
of inquiry. Sitting down with a blank page, letting
the words find you, and then letting them lead you
for a while, well, it allows us to become observers
of the things that happen to us and the feelings
In a way, writing
poems allows us to marry our ever-expanding
interpretations of facts with childlike
inquisitiveness. And the more we allow ourselves to
question, the more the practice of writing can lead
us into a deeper appreciation of the big mystery
that we never will solve and will always dance with.
I remember when my
daughter, Vivian, was two, the era of “Why” came on
overnight, and I was overwhelmed with her
questioning. Was it to really learn about the
inner workings of the world, like why I was eating
carrot barley soup? Why I was buckling the car seat?
Why I was putting on mascara? (good question). Or
was it to engage in conversation in an easy,
one-syllable format? Would any series of word
suffice as an answer?
I decided to play with Vivian’s inquisitiveness to
see why she might be whying me. Turns out that if
you respond to Why with a non-sequitor, the child
will not be satisfied.
RWT: I am going to make lunch now.
RWT: Radical countertop.
VRT: No ra-i-cul coun-top.
RWT: Because it is lunchtime.
Ah ha! The child was really interested in the way
things are, even though she could not understand it.
What does this prove? It proves, that we, unlike the
cat, are not doomed by our curiosity. Our
willingness to question leads us through the world,
and if we let it, helps us not only to learn but to
unlearn the things we think we know. As Lama Yeshe
says, we “check our minds.” And this is the domain
But we are doomed, nonetheless. Of course we are,
and poetry is also a marvelous vehicle for wrestling
with that. To see some of my latest wrestlings,
Rosemerry and artist friend Meredith
standing in front of some of the
creations made in their
“Drawing on Trees” workshop,
a workshop that blends visual art and
Look for more collaborations between
these two this coming year
A Few Words on Less:
Bill King at the Colorado Poetry Center recently
interviewed Rosemerry about her latest book, The
Less I Hold, for the latest issue of
The Colorado Poet (issue #25). To
read the interview, plus interviews with Dave Mason,
Bill Tremblay and Wayne Gilbert, visit
The Colorado Poetry Center.
Putting the Push in front of the Cart: New
Verse News nominated one of Rosemerry’s poems,
“Picking Up a Hitchhiker in May,” for a 2014
Pushcart Prize. You can read the poem
The Less I Hold (Turkey Buzzard Press, 2012)
Rosemerry's newest book is now available on this
A Daily Dose of Poetry:
To read my daily poems,
check out my