on slow learning

If you have ever owned
a tortoise, you already know
how terribly difficult
paper training can be
for some pets.

Even if you get so far
as to instill in your tortoise
the value of achieving the paper,
there remains one obstacle--
your tortoise's intrinsic sloth.

Even a well-intentioned tortoise
may find himself, in his journeys,
to be painfully far from the mark.

Failing, your tortoise may shy away
for weeks within his shell, utterly
ashamed, or looking up with tiny,
wet eyes might offer an honest shrug.
Forgive him.

Reprinted from Compass of Affection: Poems New & Selected by permission of the author, Scott Cairns, and Paraclete Press. To find out more about this beautiful collection visit this page.


Ser said...

Ooh, I love this poem! I really relate to the turtle, trying to unpack these days.

I miss you so, Jenny, and don't have a phone or internet yet. There is so much I want to tell you, like about my nightmares about the suburbs (getting a lecture on mowing our lawn) and about vomiting on the plane ride to Columbus.

I'll get an internet connection in a few days, and then I'll email you.


Bethany Torode said...

I needed this, J! Actually I need it every day.

Give me a ring or I'll try you. The initial burst of work from my new job has simmered down.

Love you.