What does one say after an hour of meditation?
How about, “What’s for breakfast?”
I like this two-line poem for many reasons. First, the poem contrasts the rather ethereal subject of meditation with the eminently practical need to eat and the everyday routine of meals. I love these apparent paradoxes, which drive much of my poetry and thinking. While I believe that meditation and eating meals are both basic needs, most would agree that they are basic needs in very very different ways. I also like this poem because its two-lines mirror the classical set up for a joke, misleading the reader or hearer with the first line, and then hitting them with something very different, unexpected. And as in good joke telling, timing is important. By tying the hour of meditation to before breakfast, it stresses the foundational nature of meditation in one’s day, and, especially for people like myself, who don’t like getting up early in the morning, it suggests that meditation is perhaps appropriate and important enough to rise early for. Certainly, the practice of meditation is very difficult, even for short times. The mention of an hour of meditation is probably scary for most of us. Given the mystical nature that one might ascribed to meditation, one might expect something very grand, epic, perhaps even some miraculous revelation, after such a long endeavor. Nonetheless, meditation may be less about achieving some temporary, mystical experience, than enriching our regular everyday experience, such as eating a meal. I have to laugh at myself that trying to explain even some of what is behind such a simple, short poem, takes much much longer been reading it and giving it a simple meditation for oneself. Of course, that’s the power of poetry, to say something seemingly simple, yet realize that it is much richer than it first appears. Please feel free to read my short poems without the long commentary, especially if your simple meditations upon these poems give you a better, power-packed experience.