I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.


Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume? -From “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot

I got several nice emails on Friday from media assistants who appreciated me standing up for them. I am not going to lie to you – these emails made me cry. I was sitting in my office, and, suddenly, tears were streaming down my face. It was difficult to step forward and say that I would speak, but I didn’t want to let my assistant down. Now that it’s over with, I can see that it was also about these other people, their jobs, their livelihoods. I tried a little bit to make it about me. But now I am relieved that they weren’t disappointed.

I have been thinking lately about disturbing the universe and how difficult it is. This year’s National Poetry Month poster, seen above, really captured my attention, and I ordered a copy for myself. (I want to get a frame for it and hang it in the hall. Mike is not sold on this idea. But he thinks it’s a cool poster just the same.) After I got over the being angry and the despair, speaking to the school board was my small way of disturbing the universe. I wish I could say that it’s been a trend, but there have been some times lately when I went along with the mean girls rather than standing up to them, when I was happy that they weren’t turning on me and used that position to my own advantage. In other words, there are times lately that I have been a middle school girl. It’s pretty much as awful as it was when I was actually 12 years old.

Maybe standing up to bullies isn’t as exciting as speaking to the school board. And there are certainly worse evils in the world than smirking when some people are mean to other people. But it’s not the kind of person I want to be. There’s quite a gap between the me who lets those things happen and the me who is willing to speak out against injustice. And for that, I am more than a little bit ashamed.

I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

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