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Do Not Despair

I’m guessing that many of you may feel like I do a lot these days when you look at the news—both angry yet impotent to do much of anything significant about the world’s ills. It’s one of the problems of our age, that our sphere of knowledge dwarfs our sphere of impact. In these moments I often find myself “doomscrolling”, thumbing through one bad thing after another on the Internet until I’m in a bad mood.

On one such day recently I just had to ditch my phone and go for a walk in the woods. This poem emerged mostly as a message to myself, but I hope it meets you where you are too.

Dear you, yes you, scrolling past this post, on your way, to another dose of despair. Lift up your eyes, look out your window at the real world.

Leave your smartphones and smartwatches behind and go.

Lift up the limbs that you’ve been given to the sun, breathe in the oxygen, the trees have so lovingly made for you, see and smell the blossoms they have bloomed for you.

If you can, hold the life of a small creature in your hands, and feel its tiny life and beating heart, so much like your own, both of you so small in this vast world.

You are small, yes but you are not nothing. You can smile at another, you can plant seeds in earth, you can love your friends and your family, you can speak a kind word, you can give a few dollars to a good cause,

you can even, write a poem.

Shut out the voices of the megalomaniacs making money off your fear, feasting on your paralyzed flesh like a pack of crazed hyenas.

Do not despair,

do not give up,

do not give in,

but stand in your small earthen self

and be.

This poem was originally posted on Chris Yokel’s Substack Beauty Is Truth


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