Poetry has special healing powers, and it comforts and connects us. Sometimes poetry slips through the door of our skin when we need it the most, and saves us. On Monday, after a sleepless night, my anxiety was a fist clenched in my chest. I was a puddle of a human and I was trying my best to smile and keep it together for my seventeen-month-old darling son. After lunch, I slathered sunblock on me and Teddy, found our hats, and we went to the playground. I met a mom there with her son and we started talking. We found out that we both like poetry and she said “I’ll recite a poem for you if you recite one for me.” I shared “Waitress Rondeau,” one from my first book of poetry, and I performed it for her as kids slid down slides and laughed.
She then recited a poem by the spoken word poet, Andrea Gibson, titled “Say Yes.” She said she loved the poem so much and wanted to be able to share it with people so she spent a month memorizing it while driving in her car. The poem brought me to tears. It’s about hope and strength, human connection and interconnectedness, and most importantly, saying yes to life even when you feel empty, scared, and exhausted. I was instantly pulled in by these beginning lines:
“When two violins are placed in a room if a chord on one violin is struck
the other violin will sound the note
If this is your definition of hope
This is for you”
And the tenth stanza of “Say Yes” by Andrea Gibson was particularly moving and was exactly what I needed to hear, especially those last three lines about miracles:
“This is for the no becoming yes
For scars becoming breath
For saying I love you to people who will never say it to us
For scraping away the rust and remembering how to shine
For the dime you gave away when you didn’t have a penny
For the many beautiful things we do
For every song we’ve ever sung
For refusing to believe in miracles
because miracles are the impossible coming true
and everything is possible”
You can check out the complete lyrics here:
and you can also watch videos of Andrea Gibson performing her poem.
Every space is a place for poetry, and today, poems bloomed at the playground and their words struck chords within people, even if they weren’t listening.
I left the playground feeling more hopeful and connected, and that night, thankfully, I slept.
Here’s to saying yes and yes—