Saving the World

Maybe the world will be saved in unexpected and quiet ways.

You only have to say that you suffer from anxiety and everyone will jump in with a ME TOO that rivals the other ME TOO thing. Given what we hear from the media everyday I say OF COURSE YOU ARE ANXIOUS.  Honestly it would be weird if we weren’t.  This is not a little thing.

Anxiety is a fear aggressive dog that bites hard and won’t go lay down when told.

I talk to mine.

“So hey, there you are. I see you. Its going to be ok. How about a little roll in the grass, belly scratch, dance to gypsy jazz, yoga, talk with another friend time. FEEL that deep abdominal breath. Lets look at the bank balance and see if it really is THAT bad. Isn’t great to be a Canadian with nearly free Medical insurance  AND WE don’t have DT as our leader. Find a soft rug and lay down by the fire. Go chew a bone. Chase a ball.”

Anxiety hounds me with lengthy conversations about American news, what we will live on when I retire at 95, whether I’m eating enough greens or too much sugar, and about the loose skin on my neck. Anxiety talks about doing stomach crunches far longer than it would actually take to do them. Anxiety not only worries about the sun damage on my body but also that on my daughter and, does everyone I know they should say no to balloons and plastic straws?

We know that children thrive if they feel safe and have their needs met. Can’t think of why adults would be any different.

There is all kinds of medicine and antidotes recommended to cope. Meditate, write a journal, walk in nature. I have a friend who thinks everyone should get a prescription. If that doesn’t work, get another one and don’t worry that they are highly addictive and can make you want to kill yourself. Just do it. It worked for her.

The following poems by Jorge Luis Borges and the next one by Stephan Heighton (which is a contemporary nod to the Borges poem) are word medicine that DR Rumblebee prescribes.

There is a suggestion that paying attention to simple, soothing tasks is restorative.

Stay present, SINK DEEPER, be in good company, be tender.  

The Just
by Jorge Luis Borges

A man who cultivates his garden, as Voltaire wished.
He who is grateful for the existence of music.
He who takes pleasure in tracing an etymology.
Two workmen playing, in a café in the South,
a silent game of chess.
The potter, contemplating a color and a form.
The typographer who sets this page well,
although it may not please him.
A woman and a man, who read the last tercets
of a certain canto.
He who strokes a sleeping animal.
He who justifies, or wishes to, a wrong done him.
He who is grateful for the existence of a Stevenson.
He who prefers others to be right.
These people, unaware, are saving the world.




Singers of solo expertise who defer and find harmonies instead.
Anyone whose skeleton is susceptible to music.
She who, having loved a book or record, instantly passes it on.
Whose heart lilts at a span of vacant highway, the fervent surge of acceleration, psalm of the tires

Those for whom sustaining hatred is a difficulty.

Surprised by tenderness on meeting, at a reunion,
the persecutors of their youth.

Likely to forget debts owed them but never a debt they owe.

Apt to read Plutarch or Thich Nhat Hanh with the urgency of one
reading the morning news.

Frightened ones who fight to keep fear from keeping them from life.

The barber who, no matter how long the line, will not rush the masterful
shave or cut.

The small-scale makers of precious obscurios—pomegranate spoons,
conductors’ batons, harpsichord tuning hammers,
War of 1812 re-enactors’ ramrods, hand-cranks for hurdy-gurdies

The gradeschool that renewed the brownfields back of the A&P
and made them ample miraculous May and June.

The streetgang that casts no comment as they thin out to let Bob
the barking man squawk past them on the sidewalk.

The two African medical students in Belgrade, 1983, who seeing
a traveller lost and broke took him in and fed him rice and beans
cooked over a camp stove in their cubicle of a room and let him
sleep there while one of them studied all night at the desk between
the beds with the lamp swung low.

Those who sit on front porches, not in fenced privacy, in the erotic
inaugural summer night steam.

Who redeem from neglect a gorgeous, long-orphaned word.

Who treat dogs with a sincere and comical diplomacy.

Attempt to craft a decent wine in a desperate climate.

Clip the chain of consequence by letting others have the last word.

Master the banjo.

Are operatically loud in love.

These people, without knowing it, are saving the world.IMG_2156


And more Just Ones

The ones who LISTEN while waiting their turn to speak.

The ones who learn to cook, paint, write, and make and then share the fruit

The ones who are strong, that realize they can still learn from older and younger people.

The people who say “today was horrible but tomorrow will be better.”

The people who know that we are one species among many.

The people who choose to live with less.

The ones who plant flowers for bees and milkweed for monarch butterflies.

These people without knowing it, will save the world. 


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                                                                                                                                    Coranne Creswell

The Just  Translated by Alastair Reid from: “Insomnia”, Six Poems by Jorge Luis Borges, Harper’s Magazine, February, 1999

Steven Heighton’s ( most recent books are The Waking Comes Late, which won the 2016 Governor General’s Award for poetry, and a novel, The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep.