The Lesson

When young, it was the first fall from love.

It broke me open the way lightning splits a tree.

Then, years later, cancer broke me further.

This time, it broke me wider the way a flood

carves the banks of a narrow stream.

Then, having to leave a twenty year marriage.

This broke me the way wind shatters glass.

Then, in Africa, it was the anonymous face

of a schoolboy beginning his life.

This broke me yet again. But this

was like hot water melting soap.

Each time I tried to close

what had been opened.

It was a reflex, natural enough.

But the lesson was, of course, the other way —

in never closing again.

Excerpted from The Way Under the Way: The Place of True Meeting by Mark Nepo, published by Sounds True, November 2016.

MarkNepo.com

  • photo credit: stokpic.com
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