Saturday, August 28, 2021

Woke and Awake

It occurs to me how some of us might be more inclined to get a dose of cable news than to dip into a book of Emily Dickinson or Wallace Stevens. Peggy did both but not in equal measure.

It’s one thing to be woke to the inequities, threats to democracy and our planet itself and quite another to notice patterns made by the sun on the wall or bark on a eucalyptus. Ignore either at your peril.

Peggy would assiduously read the front page and often follow an article to its conclusion on page 18. My meat is more on the op-ed page. When her hackles were raised, she’d write a letter to the editor. Over two dozen were published and many were not out of indignation but to support what was said.

Of course, being awake to the sensuality life offers is not a choice denied to those to being woke. I suppose it comes down to micro and macro, mankind and man. Yet how many of us have the antenna to pick up signals from the vast overlooked?

Maybe it comes down to where your perch is. Poets are half-in and half-out of this world. There are traps on either side. Too woke, seeing through a lens darkly, can lead to cynicism and even despair. Too awake might leave the eyes rosy-colored and remote. 

Peggy found her own balance. Her day was filled with gratitude and reverence feeding her creativity tempered by a simmering vehemence against what would act against that life force.

Visiting cathedrals in Europe was an occasion to experience awe. While Peggy marveled at the grandeur of the stained glass I might dwell on the back-breaking labor it took and concentration of stolen wealth accumulated. Faith and doubt make their own special light where the woke and awake mingle.



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