Friday, January 28, 2011

Poetry Friday -- Balance

photo by alittlething from Flickr Creative Commons

Books are piled everywhere, clamoring to be read.

A perpetual to-do

List (never completed, never shorter) sits

At my place at the table. I

Need to vacuum and dust, not to mention

Check papers and write lesson plans. But

Everything can wait while we have this cup of tea together.
©Mary Lee Hahn, 2010

Last spring, we took our fourth graders to a leadership camp, where they took part in all kinds of team-building activities. One activity was a giant platform teeter-totter that could hold an entire small group of students. Their goal was to arrange themselves on the platform so that it was still and balanced. The group I was with was not having an easy time with teamwork, and they attacked this challenge, as they had the others, without communication and planning. The camp counselor and I watched as the platform tipped up in one direction and they all moved to the other side of the platform,  tipping it up in the other direction. Back and forth, crises after crises, no communication, no planning, no balance (but lots of squealing and bouncing and fun).

Balance, to me, is NOT when the platform of my life is completely still and level. That would be impossible to achieve for more than about 5 minutes at a time. But balance is also NOT those times when the platform of my life tips back and forth wildly. What I'm trying for is a life that dips slightly on the one side when work piles up a little too much, but that also dips slightly the other way when I put all the work aside and take time for me -- for exercise, time with friends, blogging, sleeping in. The tilt has been towards the work side the past few weeks. I'm inching my way over to the "me time" side, beginning with a cup of tea, and Poetry Friday!

Elaine has the roundup at Wild Rose Reader this week. I'll be putting aside my to-do list tomorrow morning to come and read the week's offerings. See you then!


  1. I needed this tonight! I desperately needed to find balance today...I went to Starbucks after work, had a cup of hot chocolate and finished reading a book. It was such a relaxing end to a super stressful week. Thanks for putting things into perspective for me!

  2. Enjoyed your poem, Mary Lee. I need a steamy cup of tea this morning!

    Nice image of the kids on the teeter-totter.

  3. Yes! Thanks for this balancing cup of tea and sharing your thoughts. Work demands all too often weigh too heavily on one side. There can never be too many reminders to take the time for small joys, home life, friends, and personal moments.

  4. From the clamoring book pile to the cup of tea, I hear you, Mary Lee. Your poem's last line is very satisfying. Enjoy your Saturday morning me-time!

  5. I think we all hit the ground running after the winter break and now we're losing steam. Your poem and post are so timely as we slow down a little and remember ourselves. My cup is steaming as I type...

  6. Anonymous4:40 PM

    love the sense of the teetering to-do piles. and i'd love to share a cup of tea!

    peace keep you.

  7. Oh, how true!It's been crazy around here this week. Laundry stacked to the ceiling practically, the dishes need washing, business stuff to finish, and that rewrite that I keep pushing to the end of the list. My way of procrastinating! Thanks for sharing this.

  8. Loved the poem - and the idea of achieving a rational kind of balance, an accepting kind of balance.

  9. After just getting home from school at 7:15 tonight, having this be the post that greeted me when I opened my google reader - let's just say it was serendipity. I plan on browsing a little online, reading, and knitting for the rest of the evening.
    I hope you capture some more "me" time this weekend.

  10. I like your definition of balance with a little teetering in it. And of course the achievement, quiet time with friends and words. Enjoy your morning!

  11. Your poem spoke to me, Mary Lee. Thanks!

  12. Amen, Mary Lee! I raise my hot cup of tea to you!

  13. Wait! Do I not remember a one word poem titled "Balance?" I love the ending of this poem with the tea together. 'Wish we could have one now. A.

  14. I hope you all found time for YOU this weekend. I worked hard, but kept my promise to myself to tour the Poetry Friday roundup on Saturday morning. I ended the weekend by watching Downton Abbey on PBS. I'm HOOKED!

    Amy LV, you remember correctly -- I wrote a one word poem last April on the theme of Balance! It's a topic we revisit often here at A Year of Reading!!!


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