Thursday, June 21, 2012

"Don't Expect Applause-Tibetan Buddist Maxim"

 by: Ellen Bass

And yet, wouldn't it be welcome
At the end of each ordinary day?
The audience could be small,
The theater modest. Folding chairs
In a church basement would do.
Just a short earnest burst of applause
That you got up that morning
And, one way or another
Made it through the day.

You soaped up in the steaming
Shower, drank your Starbucks
In the car, and let the guy with the
Windex wipe your windshield
During the long red light at Broad Street.
Or maybe you were that guy,
Not daring to light up
While you stood there because
Everyone's so down on smoke these days.

Or you kissed your wife
As she hurried out the door, even though
You were pretty sure she was
meeting her lover at the Flamingo Motel,
Even though you wanted to grab her
By a hank of her sleek hair.
Maybe your son's in jail.
Your daughter's stopped eating.
And your husband's still dead
this morning, just like he was
yesterday and the day before that.
And yet you put on your shoes
And take a walk, and when a neighbor
says Good Morning, you say
Good Morning, back.

Would a round of applause be amiss?
Even if you weren't good.
Even if you yelled at your kid,
Poisoned the ants, drank too much
And said that really stupid thing
You promised yourself you wouldn't say.
Even if you don't deserve it.

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