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Reading “For the Thousandth Time, I Want to Know” by Mark Nepo



Poetry Lunch S5E8

Reading “For the Thousandth Time, I Want to Know” by Mark Nepo, Inhabiting Wonder, Bread for the Journey.


Rolling my eyes at my own forever-need-to-know which this poem reminds me isn’t possible. And is possibly even acceptable.

But I always want to know everything. Which has a lot to do with wanting control, wanting to feel on top of it, prepared, ready, etc. I’ve been blindsided by plenty in my life and it’s still hard as ever to breathe easy with any big unknown looming. But I do want to try. A good friend reminded me yesterday that any amount of gratitude in the present moment can change a helluva lot which made me realize I’ve been practicing that reflexively lately.

For instance, I was sitting in the sun in my garden at home last week (I was home the whole week recovering from thyroid surgery) and watched a humming bird drink from a magnificent bleeding heart flowering a few feet away. I focused big appreciation on it and then that hummingbird flew right up to my face and hung out a minute, looking at me and, well, humming.

I know it’s a dove not a hummingbird in this poem and my reading of it may have felt tired. I’ve known the poem a long time and it’s associated with a lot of layers of grief for me. And I am tired. But also grateful. And thinking about how nonhuman life doesn’t worry about not knowing. Also cracks me up that the form for the “Allow the time that it takes” posters is sitting in the foreground of this video. All right universe. I know I can’t know most things. Will keep working on appreciating every small magnificence in front of me.


Related print

I printed this when I was an apprentice at Stern & Faye Printers, and bound it a few years later in my first ever studio. Here's the story of making it.


Link to purchase

The book appears to be out of print. Get the print: Thousandth Time.