“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
~ John Lennon
The other day I was looking for a poem about breakfast. Anything would do — pancakes, waffles, toast, eggs, bacon, or muffins.
Instead, I came across this quirky poem, “The Avalanche Club,” by Heather Christle. It made me giggle, but it also had the “Aha!” effect.
The poem is all about looking for one thing, in order to accidentally discover something else. How could I resist lines like these:
I complained to my friends.
I said I am looking for bears
and I am finding them everywhere
but I am not finding, for example,
a town in Tennessee
populated entirely by historians
who refute the Persian Wars.
Aha! You may know I have also spent a fair amount of time looking for bears.
And then I read this:
Maybe you have a similar problem.
Maybe for you it’s phone booths
which you chose for their disappearance
and their mostly romantic history.
(entire poem is here.)
My god. This poet is reading my mail! For me, it’s bears and phone booths! (Sometimes, it’s even a bear inside my phone booth!) Double Aha.
So now, I’m all, “I’ve been searching for the wrong thing my whole life!” “I’m not seeing the forest for the trees!”
Of course I also thought about writing:
watch the tunnel vision
there are many ways of seeing
the best ideas come when you’re not looking
it’s right in front of you, aka, the answer is in the manuscript
is everyone obsessive?
And so, I looked for breakfast and discovered bears.
Heather Christle looked for bears and found a way to make us re-examine our experience and perspective.
Of course, you may accidentally take away something entirely different from this poem.
What are your sights set on?
Today’s Poetry Friday Roundup is at Biblio File.
Edited to add: Liz Scanlon came up with the perfect song for this post — “Bears,” written by Steve Fromholz. It is performed with perfection by Lyle Lovett on this video. The lyrics are in the comments. Thanks, Liz!