‘Inspire Your Heart with the Arts’ Day is a nationally recognized event usually held on Jan. 31st – a day to ponder how art affects your heart. Whether we are touched by music or see into an artist’s soul through their work, art has the power to change us, to inspire our hearts.
At this week’s Student Services Leaders’ meeting, Dr. Pablo Ortiz, Director of Student Affairs, read a poem by Roberto Juarroz. We are privileged at this place of learning to be able to dive reflectively into art – into poetry – as a way to ground ourselves in art and thoughtfulness. We asked ourselves how we can make the most of this time of COVID, this parenthetical space we have been gifted that strips away so much of the busyness of everyday life and invites us to focus on what is truly important.
I share this poem and a photo of the Student Services Leaders taken from our online meeting. These are the people behind the scenes who are surrounding and supporting all of our students at StMU. We spent our meeting considering how we can best provide the conditions you need to thrive. We talked about the elements for growth of strong trees – compost rich soil, sun, rain, diverse ecosystem – and how we can be good gardeners in the soil of the StMU learning community.
Today’s message addresses all the parts of us that need tending in order to thrive: our imaginative spirits, our bodies, and our minds. I offer lots of resources to help you flourish this term. What really pleases me is how students are starting to send me items to include in Friday messages –and the initiatives you are working on.
Start now for a really successful term. Don’t wait until you’re feeling stretched – get inspired and dive into all the cool things happening at and through StMU. Let’s make this a term to remember for all the ways in which we grew together and reached our goals in the most amazing ways!
So, in the spirit of ‘Inspire Your Hearts with the Arts,’ may you enjoy this poem and consider how you can flourish in this parenthetical space of COVID.
First Vertical Poetry (1958)
By Roberto Juarroz
*Translated by W.S. Merwin
I don’t want to get God mixed up with God.
That’s why I don’t wear a hat now,
I look for eyes in people’s eyes,
and I ask myself what it is that won’t let us wake,
while I’m here, between parentheses,
and thinking that everything may be a parenthesis.
While I finger this death with its train schedule
and trace my hands.
Because maybe that’s the whole game:
to trace lines around your hands
or the hands’ place.
To trace yourself between parentheses
and not outside.
I don’t want to get god mixed up with god.