A march can really get your feet moving. It can make crowds move, and sometimes rally teams and armies to victory -- never mind pillage and murder. But what happens when that same inspiring feeling is expressed through the lilting melodies of a pan flute, or the rainbow surface of a drifting soap bubble?
Is this even possible? If so, is it an example of transcendence?
Yes. And emphatically yes.
Take a look at Nancy Miller Gomez's poem, "Still," posted at Rattle on January 26, 2022. Click the picture above to read the full poem.
The first stanza describes a wilted apple via one of the more striking similes for death I've encountered lately:
Shriveled and brown as a shrunken head,
it holds onto the branch even while falling
The next images carry this same sense forward:
The woman who shows up daily
for her dose of methadone.
The man punching the clock shift after shift
though he carries his heart through each day
in a cold, empty chest.
Finally, we see a boy who struggles in the classroom, a father on his deathbed. All of these images tie together with Gomez's single anthemic line:
Isn’t persistence beautiful?
Do you see the march now? Of course you do. The march of those of us who are wounded, suffering, flummoxed, defeated, lonely, stranded...
We're all in it. And we're all in it together. No matter who you are, you're broken in some way or, I'm sorry to say, probably will be someday. The good news is: persistence is beautiful . And when we persist and overcome our challenges, we are as the bird in this eloquent stanza:
The bird drops its song, over and over,
picking it up and dropping it,
little notes spilling down the mountain.
Gomez's tune is delicate and empathetic. But her theme booms like the most infectious (and righteous) of marches. It's the march of humanity and we're all in the ranks, following the beat (and overcoming the beatings) of life.
Let me know your thoughts and follow me on Twitter @BlackstonDan