So May Things to Throw Away

Perhaps because we are in the process of moving (a process I hope will soon be completed), this poem by Norman MacCaig struck me when it arrived in my inbox this morning as Inward/Ourward’s daily reflection.

In this moving process, we’ve thrown or given away so many things, yet we still seem to have so much “stuff.” I read this poem, titled Small Boy and thought: perhaps my fingers are not unclenched enough.

He picked up a pebble
and threw it into the sea.

And another, and another.
He couldn’t stop.

He wasn’t trying to fill the sea.
He wasn’t trying to empty the beach.

He was just throwing away,
nothing else but.

Like a kitten playing
he was practicing for the future

when there’ll be so many things
he’ll want to throw away

if only his fingers will unclench
and let them go.


One thought on “So May Things to Throw Away

  1. Losing almost everything to a house fire was a trial and affirmation of letting go. In one sense, it was easy — the actual loss involved no decision on my part for most of it. I was left with the task of being reconciled with losing things. Empty closets, empty shelves.

    And that wasn’t so easy… I had to decide to abandon my fabric collection (smoke damage); I think it broke my heart. It has taken almost 15 years to be willing to piece and quilt again.

    Unclenching the fingers can be difficult, even when you know the results will be good.

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