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Fearing Paris

Suppose that what you fear
could be trapped
and held in Paris.
Then you would have
the courage to go
everywhere in the world.

All the directions
of the compass
open to you,
except the degrees east or west
of true north
that lead to Paris.

Still, you wouldn’t dare
put your toes
smack dab on the city limit line.
You’re not really willing
to stand on a mountainside,
miles away,
and watch the Paris lights
come up at night.

Just to be on the safe side,
you decide to stay
completely out of France.
But then danger
seems too close
even to those boundaries,
and you feel
the timid part of you
covering the whole globe
again.

You need the kind of friend
who learns your secret
and says,

“See Paris first.”

Marsha Truman Cooper, 2002

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Comment by Bill Johnson on November 24, 2008 at 7:38pm
Thanks for these poems, Waking. The practice of confronting our demons (fears) is a powerful one. I grew up into a person with many fears and anxieties that were socially and spiritually debilitating. I finally started to work on this about ten years ago, probably around the time i first read Care of the Soul and other books of that ilk. I finally decided I had nothing to lose by going right to the closet where the monsters hid and saying "What's up, dude?" This work started to bear amazing fruit from the very outset.

Not to say that my inner monsters are of the worst sort--some of the horror stories of others that come to my attention fill me with trepidation even to read about. This too can be a transformative practice. For example, a few months back, while browsing in the library I came across the book "The Blindfold's Eyes" by Sr. Dianna Ortiz, in which she describes her treatment at the hands of Guatemalan police and the intense psychological aftermath. I am as squeamish as they come with regard to the subject of torture, and it took weeks of soul-searching for me to muster the courage to even take that book home. But in the process of reading it i opened myself to be touched by the soul of this woman, who found herself engaged with both her outer and inner worlds in ways I could scarcely have imagined. This permanently deepened and enriched the experience of my own soul.
It's definitely off to Paris for me!
Comment by Waking on April 11, 2008 at 5:07pm
Even I don't like my newly coined word for Poetry Blog Entry ('Bloegtry'), so how about Ploegtry instead?

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