The only poetry I have ever written
Was a lament.
A lament of childhood.
I wrote it all at once, to release a torrent of ideas and emotion I had swirling around in my head at the time. Later I sat and edited it, in one sitting, to the beat and rhythm of the poems I was studying at the time. Preparing to leave school, but looking back on younger schools and ages I had already left behind, a strange series of images presented themselves, one after another, to me.
As spring blows by.
A song for those lost
Bouncing through that hill
And wood of childish youth.
A thousand days will pass
From that sad day and
Though such song still stays,
On the turn of autumn
Still sounds, sad and sorrowful,
Will wait to wail on, moving worlds,
Forcing an hourglass again to turn.
Remembering that now and comparing those feelings to the stress of constant projects and deadlines that I had known would come, a different frame of mind emerges. While drawing and modelling in college, I spend a lot of time working with headphones on, listening to music or podcasts and a song I’ve listened to a few times now fits, though the import is less significant in my case. The song is ‘Non-Stop’ from the musical Hamilton and these lyrics from it caught me.
Why do you write like you’re running out of time?
Write day and night like you’re running out of time?
Ev’ry day you fight, like you’re running out of time
“Why do you fight like you’re running out of time?” This is a question asked in confusion upon seeing a fervent dedication to a cause. It is a far cry from the comparatively leisurely pace I have to keep with my work at the moment but it struck me as I worked last week to complete a site model that I knew beyond doubt, given the limited hours we had to work in, I could not finish in time. This question asked in confusion of disbelief stuck and echoed in my head, and changed.
It became like a taunt, or a challenge. A challenge to do more than just work hard.
To stretch the comparison: Considering my peers, there is a definite feeling around that we have finite time available and most surrender to this and do what they can. However, I can see the people who fight against it, the people who have taken the challenge. They are recognised by a determination to do more than is possible. And I’m sure everyone can think of people they know or have known that the idea fits.
“Why do you fight like you’re running out of time?”
This is just an idea. One that is probably full of holes at that! But I would ask you to consider the two mindsets presented here. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive but: do you lament/surrender to change or do you challenge yourself to do more than you believe you can? And then ask:
What are we called to do?
“Why do you fight like you’re running out of time?” Questions like it have often been asked, in confusion or disbelief, of the great teachers or evangelists.
How can they do more than what seems possible?
I hope that answering questions like these helps other people understand, and then feel some of the pressure of the challenge.
(If you would like to listen to the song mentioned this is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9iLfPP4Ps8 )