Monday, May 8, 2023

Poem In Praise of the Exuberant by Samantha Bennett


And as you stand there
Sunshining all over our Rain Parade
Voice cheering
Toes tapping
Eyes dancing
Let us now praise you.
You, the mango-coconut in our vanilla world.
You, the red balloon in our blue sky.
You, the hooray-for-your-new-job (or hooray-for-your-engagement or hooray-for-your-wedding or hooray-for-your-new-baby or hooray-for-your-divorce) party-throwing friend.
Your door is always open
And don't think we don't take advantage of it.
Your heart is always open
And don't think we don't take advantage of it.
You have a particular kind of bravery:
The not-being-afraid-of-feelings kind of brave
The stand-up-and-be-counted kind of brave
The jump-off-the-high-dive (again) (naked) kind of brave.
We always know when you're in the audience, because
We recognize your laugh.
And as you sit us down and give us your full-beam attention and as you ask us for every detail of our latest adventure (how do you always lead us to the conclusion that our life is an adventure?) and as we, flattered by your unwavering, bright-eyed gaze, end up going on and on and on and on, we have to mentally waft away the annoying, fluttering thought,
"Yes, but: Who takes care of you?"
Because we know that underneath the nonstop carnival there is a lot of
Damn hard work and that some of
Your sparkle
Is the glitter from the parts that got
We've seen you fall and get right back up and assumed that it must not have been that much of a
Tumble but the truth is that
You alone have the
Strength to Rise.
And so it is from you we learn that while we may not always
Feel happy
We can always feel
And as you Gush and Exclaim and Twist and Shout and Wiggle with pleasure and Yelp and Hoot and Swear out loud and Burst into tears and Rush in and Hug and Holler across the room in a way that some might think of as
Embarrassing, we
Bask in your fearless conviction that
No human experience is unlovable.
Thank you for that.
So let's break out the
Sequins and the feather boas and
Have dessert first and
Grin at strangers and
Let's do the Hokey-Pokey and really
Put our Whole Self in
And order one more bottle because it's so nice to all be together
Under the Abundant Sun.

© 2009 Samantha Bennett, excerpted from "By The Way, You Look Really Great Today: Selected Poems by Samantha Bennett"

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