Mindful Mondays: Superbly Situated

Each Monday, I would like to share a reminder about the importance of being mindful. These will come from literature, popular culture, music--anywhere one might get this sort of everyday life nudge.

Just like parents don't have favorites among their children, for the most part, I don't have favorites among my friends.  If I did, however, one thoughtful friend might top my list.  A few weeks (months?) ago, she wrote to a number of us, sharing today's Mindful Mondays poem and it made me happy.  Poetry, as you may know, does usually give me joy, but this one did for additional reasons.

First, I enjoy when poems don't fit into the "well, this is cheesy, but it rhymes so I'll write it" line of poetry; second, this is a fun and well-written poem; and third, it is a beautiful reminder that I have a friend who is thoughtful enough to a. locate this fantastic poem  b. think of us/me and  c. actually take the time to send it to us/ me--exactly the type of everyday gestures we all should make.

Though it doesn't specifically mention mindfulness or the like, it is mindful in the sense that it is an observation, a presence, a celebration of life--and parts of everyday life at that.  It celebrates love and architecture and some of the loveliest but also most ordinary aspects of human life.

Robert Hershon, the poet, has lived in Brooklyn, NY throughout his life.  Thirteen books of his poetry have been published to date and he's received a number of awards during his writing career, including two fellowships.  The following poem has been published elsewhere (see citation below) and featured on The Poetry Foundation website.

Superbly Situated by Robert Hershon
you politely ask me not to die and i promise not to   
right from the beginning—a relationship based on   
good sense and thoughtfulness in little things

i would like to be loved for such simple attainments   
as breathing regularly and not falling down too often   
or because my eyes are brown or my father left-handed

and to be on the safe side i wouldn’t mind if somehow
i became entangled in your perception of admirable objects   
so you might say to yourself: i have recently noticed

how superbly situated the empire state building is
how it looms up suddenly behind cemeteries and rivers   
so far away you could touch it—therefore i love you

part of me fears that some moron is already plotting   
to tear down the empire state building and replace it   
with a block of staten island mother/daughter houses

just as part of me fears that if you love me for my cleanliness   
i will grow filthy if you admire my elegant clothes   
i’ll start wearing shirts with sailboats on them

but i have decided to become a public beach an opera house   
a regularly scheduled flight—something that can’t help being   
in the right place at the right time—come take your seat

we’ll raise the curtain fill the house start the engines   
fly off into the sunrise, the spire of the empire state
the last sight on the horizon as the earth begins to curve
Robert Herson, “Superbly Situated” from How to Ride on the Woodlawn Express. Copyright © 1985 by Robert Hershon. Reprinted with the permission of Hanging Loose Press.

Source: How to Ride on the Woodlawn Express (Hanging Loose Press, 1985)
Empire State Building, View from Macy's
Image Source: Wikipedia

I read somewhere that "saying you don't like poetry is like saying you don't like food"--and I agree.  Although I like the above poem, I constantly used to tell my students, "this poem may be an example of why you think you don't like poetry, but you just may not have found the 'right' poetry yet."  Be patient and I will keep sharing new poems to contemplate and experience.  

Happy Monday!