The Thread In Your Life
“Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable.” —Carl Sandburg
My wife, Inez, recently purchased and is reading an interesting book. Actually, I would say it’s much more than interesting. Entitled, “The Poetry Pharmacy,” it was written by William Sieghart, and published in 2019 by Penguin Random House.
It’s a beautiful collection of famous poems, embraced and loved by the author, individually selected by him to provide hope, comfort, and inspiration for all of life’s most difficult moments.
Sieghart says, “These poetic “prescriptions” and words of advice are tailored to those moments in life when we need them most, from general glumness to news overload, and from infatuation to losing the spark.” He feels that “Whatever you’re facing, there’s a poem in these pages that will do the trick.”
Over the years, he has administered his poetic advice and counsel to thousands of individuals—he calls them “patients”—who were in desperate need of some kind of emotional help. The publisher’s byline maintains that “Whether you are suffering from loneliness, lack of courage, heartbreak, hopelessness, or even an excess of ego—or whether you are seeking hope, comfort, inspiration, or excitement—The “Poetry Pharmacy” will provide just the poem you need in the moment.”
While, in my opinion, this may be a bit of an overstatement, when the appropriate poem is, in fact, read and recited in solitude in the manner suggested by Sieghart, I believe it can help.
I would like to share one poem that touched me because, it’s related to something that’s been of great interest to me for many years—Life Purpose.
Ironically, the poem, entitled, “The Way It Is,” appears in a chapter addressing “Purposelessness!” It was penned by poet, William Stafford. He refers to purpose as your “thread.”—a thread that is sown throughout your entire life.
Sieghart says that the idea he’s holding on to his personal “thread” reassures him and affords a sense of stability through the upsets and drama of everyday life. He concludes that “For some, their thread may be spirituality—for others, fate, love, or ambition. For still others, it may be something less grandiose: supporting friends, restoring old furniture, collecting every Smiths’ single ever released [a popular rock band formed in 1982 in Manchester England].
He goes on to say, “Our threads are those fragile continuities of purpose, of passion, and of spirit that give us our sense of self and identity. When people rediscover the thread that runs through their story, it is often a revelation. They are no longer directionless; suddenly their narrative has the potential for a fitting ending—or for continuation down a previously unseen path.” Well said, Mr. Sieghart. Here’s Stafford’s poem.
The Way It Is
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s un-
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
Where I connect with Seighart and Stafford is on Life Purpose, Life Passion, and the Meaning of Life.
The Meaning of Life is to find that special gift or gifts you came into this world with—everyone has at least one—and the Purpose of Life is to share them with others and make the world a better place, whether you are building a company that helps the greater good, raising a child the best you know how, or refurbishing old furniture for your family or for others. Your Purpose or your Thread, call it as you wish, when you follow it, the world is a better place.
Chairman & Owner, Chateau Mcely