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When Understanding Beckons

A poem

Image by Erdenebayar Bayansan on Pixabay

I’ve always hated not understanding things. My parents’ told many stories of afternoons lost to my “I don’t understand” wailing like a child. From why ‘chemist’ is pronounced with a ‘k’ sound to why people died, all their answers just got me more wound up.

I think it’s what ultimately led me to write, communications, and then behavioural science. The search to know. But in my personal life, where it mattered most, I often hid behind the wall of “I don’t get it”.

Now I’m realising that the search, not just for meaning, but for understanding, is what drives artists of all kinds. And it’s embracing the agony (if it’s agony to you), that leads to the art.

This poem explores how impossible that used to feel to me.

How does not knowing make you feel?
Does it twist your inside
Or draw a grimace across your face?
When I don’t know, I feel beside
Myself. Taut.

But it’s not what can’t be known
That hurts me most.
It’s that shimmering Almost place
When I’m wandering lost,
An oasis?

Or a mirage? I don’t care,
They are the same to the thirsty
They offer the same hope
With the same effort firstly,
To reach.

To know. The walk gets harder
The thirst touches bone
Long before the old trope
Of pain before glory is known
And I stop.

A new refrain echoes softly
Then louder: Can I? I must.
Immediate understanding, relief
I know it’s possible for those who lust
For it.

Can I? I must.
And if I can’t, I won’t.
And suddenly, I birth a new belief.
Now it’s simple, I just don’t
Even try.



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Wanita Isaacs

Wanita Isaacs

Writer, pathologically teaching-to-learn (those who can't do, ...). Ex-medical doctor, ex-corporate communications, ex-rat racer.