Site icon Margaret Coombs

nobody beautiful…

On the subject of slowness, here are two poets who hint at its virtues in poems I serendipitously stumbled upon today. 

Maryann Hurtt quotes e e cummings in her poem “Turtle Explains,” published in the October 2021 issue of Verse-Virtual: “nobody beautiful ever hurries.” Turtle “takes this seriously,” finds time to study “crevices / tiny puddles.” Because s/he doesn’t hurry, Turtle doesn’t miss the captivating details of the world that make it beautiful. 

Full attention changes perception.  Stare into someone’s eyes for ten minutes and see what happens. Going slowly can change your world.

Image courtesy of Derek Keats from Johannesburg, South Africa, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Is it serendipity, synchronicity, or the Holy Spirit? Whatever its name, I felt a jolt when Tom Montag read a few of his Old Monk poems today at Verse-Virtual’s Poetry Reading and Open Mic event. One of them, published in the Lothlorien Poetry Journal, 17 February 2021, considers the virtues of slowness. I am quoting the poem in full here, as it is very short.

The best teachers 
are slow learners,
the old monk says.

How reassuring! My first thought was that this is because the slow learner has developed patience with the learning process. This person as a teacher remembers the strangeness of dwelling in the place between not-knowing and knowing. 

Maybe teaching requires going back to that middle place to meet their students. At first, it’s gray and nebulous, where everything slides through our hands, a place of discomfort and doubt, and as soon as learning begins false confidence arises like a chimera. 

I like the teachers I’ve had who let me make my errors and watched with compassion, not judgment. They showed me which tools to bring, how to use them, and eventually, I made my way, slowly. 

Etruscan bronzes in the Museo archeologico nazionale (Florence)
Sailko, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons


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