In the accumulated papers in my study, I came across a poem titled “Hymn, with Birds and Cats” by Francine Marie Tolf. Much of the poem applies to her particular living situation, but within the poem are several pearls of wisdom about praising the reality of who we are. . . loving and accepting ourselves, with all our flaws, because it leads to happiness, and makes us more able to love and accept others, with all their flaws. This unconditional love is what we as individuals, as a society and as part of the community of life on this precious planet need to truly heal.
Here are the excerpts from this lovely poem that spoke to me:
I will praise my failures. I will praise What I have not accomplished and do not possess Because it has led to this moment. I will praise my body whose middle-aged belly Protrudes and whose knees have gown knobby, This foolish animal shape who guilelessly Stares back at me from the full-length mirror. Because it is still rain- and sun-loving matter, The same that splashed lake water as a child And rolled like a colt in June grass. And I am never more satisfied than when I am Walking or pushing or lifting with it, Loving even the ache that follows, That assurance I am rooted with earth. And I will praise my accumulation of failed And abandoned poems, stories and musings, Poems that will never be Published or read by anyone except me. Because not one was not perfect when first Budding, not one did not leave the fragrance Of possibility between these walls Or deepen what decency I share With damp soil and oak trees and the geese Honking high above clouds just now, Esteemed messengers I can hear but not see As I sit drinking tea, amazed The ungainliness of my life should coalesce Into something so sleek, so elegant As this sudden happiness.