you know all your life. They are simple and true
they must be said without elegance, meter, and rhyme,
they must be laid on the table beside the salt shaker,
the glass of water, the absence of light gathering
in the shadows of picture frames, they must be
naked and alone, they must stand for themselves.
- from "The Simple Truth," Philip Levine
I have shared this stanza of Philip Levine's poem "The Simple Truth," before with you. If you are not familiar with Levine's work, please, when you have a moment, read through the entire poem. And then perhaps browse the complete poetry collection by the same title. Levine's poems are earthy, powerful, they sear in your brain, they are moving. Distinct and subtle. Levine is sometimes referred to as the working man's poet. A tribute to his attention to the ordinary hours, to working lives, our empathy for the fates of others.
This stanza is about many things, but I often find myself coming back as I read to a reflection on core values such as loyalty, fidelity, love. The musculature and the power of attachment.
The human heart is capable of great patience, tremendous tenacity. It stretches, it builds - ever so slowly - like bone in the new body. All is a journey, this life. Connection and partnership; the hand-bricked construction of family. Our selves evolve into new ways of being, taking unique shape within the lives we lead. It is the simple truth to say that living is about ever-becoming. And while neither easy nor pristinely beautiful, and certainly not perfect in its process, for each one of us becoming is absolutely of whole and perfect intent. Perfect in joy, grounded in earth, heaven, and the never-ending soul. The human heart is a warrior and a monk. And it speaks a simple truth. Belong.
As we enter the quiet months of winter, listen to the song your life is singing. Speak the things you know to be true. Make these truths the pillars of conscious living.
Let the beauty we love be what we do. - Rumi