The Thinker

Ponderin’ ‘n’ Wonderin’:
A Conversation with Self

By Stephany Spencer-LeBaron

At seventy-one,
I’m hung
By protruding nails
On my ladder’s last rung,
Wonderin’ what else
I might’ve won.
And should I try for more
Before I’m done?

Or should I commit
To recreation,
Cease ambition and aspiration;
Cease trying to make
more of myself.
Simplify life by putting
Struggle on the shelf?

Sure, I ponder,
As I wonder ‘n’ wander,
But I can’t have everything
Despite the apple-pie metaphor–
That American dream,
Where successful woman
Gets penthouse promotion
To top floor.

Yet Positivists swear
Everything’s possible – –
Right thinking’s the door.
Well, let’s get real!
I could try till I die,
Thinking positive till I fry.
But only be sure
Of Taxes, “the pill,”
And drawing up
My final Will
Before I say goodbye.

Still, hope springs eternal.
It awaits up ahead.
As the sun sets overhead,
I continue to ponder
Wending my way up the hill …

When suddenly
My pensiveness takes a spill:
I get out of my head,
Change my thoughts,
Change my mood,
Change my stead
To happiness, instead;
Making all that’s positive
And pleasant my Med.

So I treasure the wonders,
Preserve the pleasures
Extending beyond measures
In an amazing,
Marvelous spread.

“If we’re not busy livin’
We’re busy dyin’,

Woody Guthrie said.

So I’m back in the saddle again,
Movin’ ahead.
I’ve burried my worries
As though they were dead.

I won’t sweat the small things,
For as it’s been said,
All things are small things;
It’s all in our head.
Only fools would walk
Where angels won’t tread.

The following is my first version of the above poem:

Ponderin’ ‘n’ Wonderin’–
A Conversation with Self

At seventy-one, I’m hung
on my ladder’s last rung,
with its many steps,
and protruding doornails
of a door half hung,
wonderin’ what more
in life I could’ve won;
and why still try
to do something BIG
before I’m done?

Shouldn’t I presently
commit to just having fun–
Cease creating toil,
strife, ‘n’ sturm;
cease makin’ a mad dash —
my last dash
to make more of self?
Wouldn’t I be better off
puttin’ struggle on the shelf?

Sure, I ponder,
I may still achieve anything
I’m willing to sacrifice for.
But I can’t have everything:
The apple-pie metaphor,
American dream,
and gorgeous guy-next-door–
though Positivists say
we can have everything our way
and even more!

Great! Really? I reply,
Let’s get real.
Though I try till I die,
exerting effort till I fry,
I’m only sure of old age,
death, taxes, “the pill” —
and drawing up my final will.

Yet, hope springs eternal
on up ahead.
It lies in wait  
as I tumble abed.

While the sun sets overhead,
I continue to ponder …
and wander …
wending my way up the hill …

Till suddenly I choose
pensive thoughts to kill.
Then, taking charge,
I get out of my head,
change my thoughts,
change my will;
change my stead.

I choose to be happy
and in the moment, instead,
making all that’s positive,
and pleasant my Med.

So I treasure the wonders,
and preserve the pleasures …
Nature’s bounteous blessings
extending beyond measures–
in an amazing, wonderous spread.

If we’re not busy livin’
we’re busy dyin’,

Guthrie, then Dylan said.
Thus, I’m back in the saddle again,
movin’ full speed ahead.
I’ve buried my worries
as though they were dead.

I won’t sweat the small things,
for as it’s been said,
all things are small things–
It’s all in our head–
Only fools walk around
where angels won’t tread.

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