Willa Cather once wrote, “Artistic growth is, more than it is anything else, a refining of the sense of truthfulness. The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy; only the artist, the great artist, knows how difficult it is.”
This is a thing I’ve been trying to do in my poetry, I think. Refining that “sense of truthfulness” is really all about asking whether I’m dancing around blathering bullshit or actually standing there, flat-footed, talking true.
Talking true gets harder, I am finding, as I unpack the layers of meaning surrounding any event or experience. And what was true yesterday turns to bullshit very easily when you are good at playing with words. Truth shifts, deepens or gets shallow, as you do.
This YouTube video by Inspire Others shows one way of talking true….
There are many others.
My own take on all this is that “true” changes. And maybe that’s why there are so many truths – some of them directly contradicting others. It’s all incredibly dizzy-making.
What’s even more confusing is that it does, finally, come down to a choice. You choose your truths and what you choose refines and defines you and the way you walk. Here’s a poem about that one….
Yeah, I know.
I have an “overly optimistic view” about the nature of humans,
And that makes me “unrealistic” – quote, unquote.
It’s a deliberate choice, you know.
I choose light.
I choose warm.
I choose together.
‘Cause lemme tell ya,
I’ve known cold.
I’ve known dark.
I’ve known apart.
I choose not to go there.
I have seen the lips of a stone-cold killer warrior
Warm into a quiet smile.
I have seen the eyes of a corporate predator
Turn gentle in the sun.
And I have seen the face of a lost one
Brighten in the belonging as we walk each other home,
And that makes my own heart fly.
So I’ll just go on choosing this way –
The one with heart.
I’ll walk it strong.
I’ll keep it true.
Yeah, maybe it’s delusional.
(At least, that’s what the smarty-pants say,
Sniggering in their superior knowledge
Of what they tell me is the “real”
About being human.)
They can have their cold and dark.
They can keep their lone-dog snarly biting.
They can chew on the nettles in their minds.
Me, I’m over it.
I like mines bettah!
By Netta Kanoho
Picture credit: Shöpfung = Creation by Lif via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
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