Last week, my friend Ulli wrote me to say that a poem of mine was featured in this dharma talk by Diana Clark. It was wonderful to listen for half an hour as Clark wove a powerful teaching about fear into reading a poem of mine about fear being like a school bus that came through my kitchen. What a gift it was to hear her really work through the metaphor and make it something so relevant.
How does she do it? She hitches a ride on the blow, a stowaway on that which brings her down.
—Teddy Macker, “The Mosquito and the Raindrop”
There I was, making tea in my kitchen,
when fear hit me like a school bus.
I didn’t need a scientist or therapist
to tell me it hurt.
I screamed: Arghh! I shouted: No!
But after smashing into me,
fear just opened the folding glass door
of the bus, yanked me on,
then plopped me into a green vinyl seat.
I’m scared, I said.
Yeah, fear said. ’Cause I’m scary.
Yeah, I squealed, as the bus careened
through the couch, through
my bedroom, through the splintering
dining room table.
What if I lose everything? I said to fear.
Yeah, said fear, what if you do?
And who will I be when everything changes?Yeah,
said fear, who will you be?
Then he opened the door
and shoved me off the bus
and I was standing again beside
the familiar green counter,
tea cup in hand, not a drop spilled.
Who will you be? he shouted
from the half open window.
I took a deep breath,
not knowing how to answer.
Good, fear said, as if uncertainty were a gift.
And who, fear said, as the bus peeled away,
who are you now? Who are you, really?