Faith, Uncategorized
Comments 6

To Live Poetry

We can read poetry, and recite poetry, but to live poetry — is the symphony of life.

S. Francis Foote

At some point in my life, I’m not sure when exactly, I discovered poetry. My spirit rocked to the tide of its gilded rhythm and my mind wandered amongst words and turns of phrase like one might meander through a large garden. I decided that it mattered not that I became an expert poet or an expert on poetry, I would enjoy it.

Somehow, Keats and Dunne and Byron helped me win the affections of a certain young man who worked in the copy room when he wasn’t at business classes at San Jose State. He wanted to bring another girl to his fraternity pledge dance, asked for my advice on how to do it and I, quite by accident, convinced him to pay attention to the wordsmiths of old. I lent him my book with all it’s dog-eared corners.He fell in love. With me.

Although he won’t ever recite Wordsworth while we sit in the swing under a smatter of stars with the breath of summer on our necks, he’ll hold my hand and solve the matters of home and the problems of the world with me.

He and I will live poetry as if it’s writ in our pulses.

Poetry is just the evidence of life.

If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.

-Leanard Cohen

Life is busy.

So often anymore, when we meet a friend by chance at the store or on the street, and the familiar question is posed,”How are you?”

Fine. Good, actually. Busy.


Do we ever say, “I am creating a symphony with my life today.” ?

Do we allow ourselves to feel the agony and thrill and tenderness in the moments of our day, or are we so programmed that we step to the four-count rhythm of the status quo: eat, sleep, work, repeat?

Are we dispassionate flatliners? Are we just busy? We do it all and go to bed dog-tired?

Do we buy our coffee at Starbucks, our dinner ingredients at Winco and fill our tanks with unleaded fuel because we love to and feel passionate about these activities? No. We have our routine, our bellies and gas tanks to fill up, work to do and mortgages to pay. It’s hard to wax poetic over the routine of daily life. So where do we find the joy to burn well and bright?

What is the the key that turns the lock and opens wide the door to symphonic living in poetic embrace?


Gratitude goes beyond the knee-jerk reaction of a mumbled thank you and resounds in response with slow-sighing, joy-drenched thankfulness.

Living our lives grateful changes everything. If you don’t believe me, try it for one week and see if you aren’t altered, if your life isn’t a better place to be, if you and those around you aren’t exponentially happier.

In fact, I will, too. And I know it’s hard. Currently, I’m living between a bed, a walker and a wheelchair; I haven’t stopped feeling pain for nearly three months. Squeezing gratitude out of me can be like pressing juice from sawdust.

My dear neighbor recently reminded me, “Alyssa, we always have a choice. Even when it seems like we don’t, we do.”

In the past, I was afraid to live as a poet writes, but I discovered and decided that if  I won’t burn with life, there is no living to speak of at all. Only monochrome. Only less than.

Friend, you have a choice.

You may choose to be grateful for your freedom, clean water, a bed, shoes that fit, clouds that rain, leaves that fall, kids that play.

You can be grateful for friends to love, people to forgive, tears to cry. You do have a choice.

You can let go of that grudge that’s grown stone-hard within you.

You can laugh even though the house payment is late. You can risk pursuing that “thing” you’ve always wanted to do.

You can revel in the love of your God. You can receive the gift of your singleness or your marriage because that is the life you are living. That is the place that you are.

Burn well, leave ash.

Consume the opportunities of this life with gratitude and leave only the ash behind. The hidden surprise in gratitude-living is that generosity blossoms. Generosity is gratitude’s twin; and the giving and the receiving, the thanking and the sharing work in harmonious tandem.

And you are happy. You are done trying so hard and you are released into being. Being deeply happy. You are joy.

“Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.” {1Thessalonians 5:16-18}

To be a poet is a condition, not a profession.

-Robert Frost

The very same could be said of gratitude: To be grateful is a condition, not a profession.

Or, love: To be loving is a condition, not a profession.

One week of living a symphony.

One week of gratitude living.

Seven days to live poetry.



  1. Brilliantly-beautifully written—even IN your pain. Maybe even perhaps BECAUSE of it. May it be lessened as you sift through the majestic ash of a life well lived. No matter the circumstance.

  2. Danelle says

    Your writing is just beautiful. I say with gratitude and a very thankful heart: Amen!

  3. Awesome post, I know it’s difficult to be gratified in your circumstances, but God is using you to lift many people. Your wisdom and insight will touch lives you’ll never even know or meet. Nice job. Thanks for the inspiration to live a gratified life through God.

  4. Living our lives grateful changes everything indeed. What a great post. Thank you.

    joy & blessings,

    I found you over at Ann’s blog. I am counting too.

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