Tara Sophia Mohr’s poems put me in the company of two huge insights.
At one point, she communicates the richness and vastness of life and at the same time its essential inexplicable and inextinguishable qualities:
“You will be asked: Did you know it,
this place, this journey?
What there is to know can’t be written.
Something between the crispness of air
and the glint in her eye
and the texture of the orange peel.”
“I never believed in death, for I never saw it.
I saw only that this became that.
The petals fell away, and the thing became a stem,
and the floor became scattered in pink.
Containers break. Eras end.
Thing-ness only a stopping ground,
a pause at the train station, followed by moving on.
You were never yourself, and I was never I.
Everything cresting and falling,
giving way, again, to the ocean.”
At the same time, in the face of something truly spectacular and mindful of personal insignificance, Tara urges this expansion of one’s living through power and action:
“When you know you are a just a disco party
of cells that came together for a time,
you’ll live like the blazing sphere you are,
and dance with the spheres around you.”
And with the understanding of life’s abundance, comes both appreciation and aim:
“Don’t be greedy with the universe, she said to me.
But she didn’t say it in the mean way.
She didn’t say don’t dream big, don’t want things, don’t think you
She meant: look at your life and trust it.
Notice how you have forever been given what you need.”
Or in this one, a generous response provoked by belonging given by awareness of nature:
“I walked backwards, against time
and that’s where I caught the moon
singing at me.
I steeped downwards, into my seat
and that’s where I caught freedom
waiting for me like a lilac.
I ended thought, and I ended story.
I stopped designing, and arguing, and
sculpting a happy life.
Instead I chopped vegetables,
and made a calm lake in me
where the water was clear and sourced and still.
And when the ones I loved came to it,
I had something to give them, and
it offered them a soft road out of pain.”
And especially in this invitation, which displays mindfulness of life’s fleeting nature and a sense of urgent calm:
“This is your time.
Your time to say what you have kept silent.
Your time to ask your big questions without apology.
Your time to shine like a blazing comet,
whether they like it or not.
Your time to believe what your heart tells you:
that this world could be very different.
Your time to live by your rhythms,
and teach them to the world.”
(“This is Your Time,” in Your Other Names excerpt, p.3)
These are relatively short poems, but inside them is infinity, communicating what’s big and inspiring me to becoming bigger, enabling me to hold seemingly disparate thoughts at the same time. Brilliant.