Boundaries – Lynn Ungar

The universe does not
revolve around you.
The stars and planets spinning
through the ballroom of space
dance with one another
quite outside of your small life.
You cannot hold gravity
or seasons; even air and water
inevitably evade your grasp.
Why not, then, let go?

You could move through time
like a shark through water,
neither restless or ceasing,
absorbed in and absorbing
the native element.
Why pretend you can do otherwise?
The world comes in at every pore,
mixes in your blood before
breath releases you into
the world again. Did you think
the fragile boundary of your skin
could build a wall?

Listen. Every molecule is humming
its particular pitch.
Of course you are a symphony.
Whose tune do you think
the planets are singing
as they dance?

by Lynn Ungar 

I have come to realise that I love poems that put me in perspective, that remind me that I’m no big deal. Of course I know that the universe does not revolve around me, but it’s all too easy to get caught up in my stories, worries, pressures, and when I’m lost in that world of thinking, I lose my connection with the bigger picture. (Curiously, when I’m more aware of heart and body, the opposite seems to happen…)

This poem by Lynn Ungar is no exception. Feeling small in the vastness of ‘the starts and planets spinning through the ballroom of space’, the inability to be anything other than an inextricable part of the whole in pure interbeing. I felt myself wondering about why she mentioned sharks rather than, for example, whales or dolphins – when sweetheart 5 year-old Finbar coincidentally asked me today if I knew that sharks do not sleep, for if they stop moving, they sink to the bottom of the ocean and die. No I didn’t, and having just googled it, it all makes sense and I love the comparison to us moving through time…

And then the reassurance at the end: ‘of course you are a symphony’… Tiny, but significant, and an inalienable part of the whole. Where you can simply play your part in ‘the family of things’ as Mary Oliver calls it, and be home.

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