Posted on Friday, April 8, 2011 in Imagination



A day so happy.
Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden.
Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.
There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.
I knew no one worth my envying him.
Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.
To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me.
In my body I felt no pain.
When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.

–Czeslaw Milosz

Czeslaw Milosz was a Polish poet, prose writer and translator of Lithuanian origin who lived through Nazi-Germany’s occupation of Poland, before defecting to France in 1951 and then coming to the United States in 1960. From 1961 to 1998 he was a professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1980, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. He died in 2004 in Krakow, Poland.

I love the gratitude expressed in this poem. We can go so caught up in negative thinking that we miss the beauty around us.

The poem raises many questions for me about what I see and pay attention to. It is very human to focus on what’s wrong, what we don’t have, and what we wished was different.

I work a lot with groups on changing their perceptions from a deficit-based view of each other and the world to a strength-based view.

It certainly isn’t easy. So many individuals are inculcated to focus on the negative, weaknesses and deficiencies.
But a focus on what’s wrong isn’t inspiring. It isn’t energizing. It brings people down and contributes to a depressing culture.

Every time I read this poem I receive a reminder and a gift.

What gift did you receive today?

Hummingbird Image: TooFarNorth

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