Wednesday, May 23, 2018

"Blessing the Doubts"

At Baccalaureate this morning, graduating senior Hannah Falchuk read one of my poems.  What an honor!  She and fellow speaker Angel Vela de la Garza Evia are recipients of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award.

Both Hannah and I have had requests for copies of the poem, so here you go!

Hannah's prefatory remarks (with her permission):

Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks said during a visit to campus earlier this year that we should entertain our wildest thoughts. She asked that we truly entertain them, that we invite them to dinner and make them feel like honored guests, and by stretching our imaginations to fit them, we might accomplish what had before seemed to us impossible. But as we entertain our wildest hopes, we might also be visited by some uninvited guests, fear and doubt. And tomorrow, our dazzling college graduation might also bring us doubts as to whether we will be able to reach the marks for success that we set for ourselves, or whether the paths that we choose might be different from what we expected them to be. Yet as much as this moment of ending and beginning is one of uncertainty, it is also one of opportunity. We are on the edge of something new and exciting, and I hope that we will acknowledge our doubts not as something to avoid but as something to celebrate, something that will push us farther than we had imagined. The poem I will read was written by an innovative and compassionate writer and teacher, and she happens to be in the audience with us today. Please enjoy my recitation of Professor Deborah Miranda’s poem “Blessing the Doubts”:

Blessing the Doubts

Bless you, doubt shiny as copper, creeping
into my pocket full of debts and past-due loans.

And bless you, enthusiastic doubt, you spring monsoon
washing away all reason and linear thought.

Sharp doubt, teach me how to praise fear in new languages, tuck
yourself into my shoe; constant and true as a splinter.

Oh faithful doubt that refuses to desert me, loyal
as a family ghost or demented mascot! Haunt on.

Ragged runaway doubts, let me harbor you on dark
November evenings when every other door stands locked.

I remember you, the one who pants like a seasoned hound;
you keep up, keep your head down, scent your prey.

Bless you especially, dark-eyed doubt whose gaze leads me
to the ledge, pushes me off into impossible.

from Raised by Humans by Deborah A. Miranda
(Northwestern U Press 2015)

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