Curiosity. It killed the cat, but it might save your soul.

Why?

Exactly.

Books and Recordings by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

In “Your Mind is Your Religion,” published in Tricycle, Lama Yeshe writes, “How do you check your mind? Just watch how it perceives or interprets any object that it encounters. Observe what feelings—comfortable or uncomfortable—arise. Then check, ‘When I perceive this kind of view, this feeling arises, that emotion comes; I discriminate in such a way. Why?’ This is how to check your mind; that's all. It's very simple.”

I have noticed that writing poems seems to invite this kind of inquiry. Sitting down with a blank page, letting the words find you, and then letting them lead you for a while, well, it allows us to become observers of the things that happen to us and the feelings that arise.

In a way, writing poems allows us to marry our ever-expanding interpretations of facts with childlike inquisitiveness. And the more we allow ourselves to question, the more the practice of writing can lead us into a deeper appreciation of the big mystery that we never will solve and will always dance with.

I remember when my daughter, Vivian, was two, the era of “Why” came on overnight, and I was overwhelmed with her questioning. Was it to really learn about the inner workings of the world, like why I was eating carrot barley soup? Why I was buckling the car seat? Why I was putting on mascara? (good question). Or was it to engage in conversation in an easy, one-syllable format? Would any series of word suffice as an answer?

I decided to play with Vivian’s inquisitiveness to see why she might be whying me. Turns out that if you respond to Why with a non-sequitor, the child will not be satisfied.

RWT: I am going to make lunch now.
VRT: Why?
RWT: Radical countertop.
VRT: No ra-i-cul coun-top.
RWT: Because it is lunchtime.
VRT: Why?

Ah ha! The child was really interested in the way things are, even though she could not understand it. What does this prove? It proves, that we, unlike the cat, are not doomed by our curiosity. Our willingness to question leads us through the world, and if we let it, helps us not only to learn but to unlearn the things we think we know. As Lama Yeshe says, we “check our minds.” And this is the domain of poetry.

But we are doomed, nonetheless. Of course we are, and poetry is also a marvelous vehicle for wrestling with that. To see some of my latest wrestlings, click HERE.


 

Rosemerry and artist friend Meredith Nemerov
standing in front of some of the creations made in their
“Drawing on Trees” workshop
,
a workshop that blends visual art and poetry.

Look for more collaborations between these two this coming year here

Drawing Trees with Meredith and Rosemerry

 

POETRY NEWS:

A Few Words on Less: Bill King at the Colorado Poetry Center recently interviewed Rosemerry about her latest book, The Less I Hold, for the latest issue of The Colorado Poet (issue #25). To read the interview, plus interviews with Dave Mason, Bill Tremblay and Wayne Gilbert, visit The Colorado Poetry Center.

Putting the Push in front of the Cart: New Verse News nominated one of Rosemerry’s poems, “Picking Up a Hitchhiker in May,” for a 2014 Pushcart Prize. You can read the poem here.

The Less I Hold (Turkey Buzzard Press, 2012)
Rosemerry's newest book is now available on this site. Click here.

A Daily Dose of Poetry:
To read my daily poems, check out my blog