This morning, we’re continuing the Monday Morning series that we began last month in celebration of National Poetry and API Heritage Months. Each week, we will be sharing an audio recording of a different poem that has moved, challenged, or stuck with us.
This week’s poem is Kazim Ali’s “Source.” I’d initially picked it because I like the way that it invites the reader to reflect upon space, and to think of the act of return to the source of one’s creative or critical inspiration as a kind of quiet discipline, a contemplative sampling enacted in the sealing and unsealing of messages . . . but how much more relevant it seems today, in the midst of the wild furor and frenzy (and the many jumbled thoughts and feelings) that have accompanied last night’s breaking news.
I love the space and light within “Source,” the way it draws me to a place of quietness, in which contemplation and stillness is at the fore. The way it lets the world be the world without being drawn into the madness of its current. The way it collects its forebears to itself, gently, in the act of listening (I love the image of pausing by Emily Dickinson’s door). This is the kind of space in which I choose to carve out my response to the news: in listening, first, and in processing and considering. In seeking refuge in the Word and in the words of those before me. In grappling, in allowing the poem to gather its walls around me. And only then, to let it out into the world. To think, to listen, with open heart and mind. To act with responsibility and with compassion. And from there, to write in hope, in passion, and humility.
To listen to the recording, click through and then hit “play” on the grey bar next to the ear icon at the top of the page.