In the morning I take out
most of what I put in last night.
I cross out everything that seems
excessive, every frill and fandango,
anything fluffy—a word that should
never again appear in a poem,
along with blossom and awesome.
Once I have deleted everything
except the title—which now seems
to have been written by a poet
who knows something I don’t,
I delete that as well and turn
the page. All that empty space
is waiting. What will I say?
~Joyce Sutphen “The Art of Revision”
It is shedding season on the farm. Suddenly it feels like everything is being purged, leaving a blank slate, an empty canvas, a wordless page.
Someone who knows something that I don’t is directing all this dropping of the burdensome to make space for the shiny and new.
I wish my own extra insulation could just be brushed out and thrown away like horse and dog hair. Mine clings to me through cold weather and warm, padding my hips and my middle and a few other spots I’d rather not disclose. I know I don’t really need all this extra fluff, and I know what I must do to shed it, but somehow knowing and doing are not always in synch.
In fact I hang on to a lot that I don’t need, some of which only makes me more miserable, as it is no longer useful and is downright detrimental. Some of it is tangible accumulation, in not-just-a-few piles and closets. Some is not visible but is deeply seeded nevertheless. The excess hurts to have it pulled out by the roots.
Yes, it is time to revise, start fresh, and figure out what is next.
I have an undercoat that I cling to because it guards my heart, providing an insulated layer buffering against the chill and sharp edges of life. I need a good stiff brushing from a strong arm. The time has come for the coat to blow. I’ll be smooth and free once again, feeling the breezes right through my skin, all the way to my heart.
I remain fluffy at my peril. It is time to figure out what comes next.
This year’s Lenten theme on Barnstorming:
God sees us as we are,
loves us as we are,
and accepts us as we are.
But by His grace,
He does not leave us where we are.