The Worry Coat

You’ve fashioned a coat, worked on it for years
adding burrs, scratchy threads that shoot in all directions--
You spent so much time plying the threads, interlacing them to a thick mass,
felted-in tighter all the time, with each push of the hands.
You crafted it well, blunting those once-graceful edges to roughness.

Oh those jumbled colors, jagged juxtapositions like frayed nerves.
It’s heavy, overloaded with grime and layers of painful moments,
strata of fear.
You wear it, and it weighs you down.
Your shoulders ache, your back bends in submission.

Zoom out. Bird’s eye view now, taking it in with clear night vision.
Why, asks the flying one, can’t we just remove this garment, lift it
up and away, throw it to the north wind,
who will carry it off to a stream bed, to decompose.

Why bear it any more, this coat of thorns, obscuring the body below?
Uncovered, your skin is smooth, fresh and pliant, unencumbered.
It’s easy to touch, to run a hand over. No stopping in the brambles.

Speak now, in bird language, and claim your ground.
You are whole without that coat, ready to move in rhythm,
to pelican glide with ease.
Let the river undo the plies of worry.
Go now, without a costume, and having shed the coat,
feel the guidance of the breeze.

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About the Author

Beverly Gordon is a writer, a visual artist, and workshop leader who has long been passionate about “deep seeing” and helping people appreciate both the material and inner, intuitive worlds. She was a professor of Design Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for nearly 30 years, specializing in people’s relationships with art, designed environments, and everyday objects. Her books can be found on Amazon.

Beverly Gordon
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