By Paul E. Schindler, Jr.
As I set out this poem to write,
I awoke in the early light.
Should it rhyme or should it not?
Aren’t rhymes just for tots?
The subject: how to truly listen,
How to hear and derive a lesson.
I’ve been stuck for several days
Trying hard to think of ways
To express what I really feel
About self-change: a great big deal.
In semi sleep it occurred to me,
“Perhaps the intro?”
Well, we’ll see.
So far I merely cleared my throat
Without sounding a single note
Maybe now I have at last
Repeated my triumph, of the past
And “broken the back”
Of this self-imposed task
I have mastered listening,
But not hearing.
The worst disasters of my life
Resulted from closed ears.
It is a lifelong pattern
of seven decades.
Can I change it?
Those of us
Married to psychotherapists
Must believe in adult change
I have changed so much this year
Perhaps I can change my ears?
Also: striving not to Talk so much.
“Is that possible?” I hear you ask.
I hope and pray and believe in the task.
I strive to do everything mindfully,
including listening, don’t you see.
It’s empathetic listening.
I am advised by the therapist
I have on a retainer
(A retainer of love)
The worst way to listen?
Only plan what you will say next.
That’s how we listened in my family.
It is not wrong,
Just unhelpful to both parties,
If the goal is communication.
Especially if the goal is
To communicate a desire for modified behavior
It should be easy.
I do care what my house therapist says,
I do actually want to become the man she hopes I can be.
I do believe
I can listen closely enough to hear her description of him.
For this poem I thank my Muse.
I had no choice, could not refuse.
Inspiration, oft meted out by the dropper
Came to me in one big whopper.
Her forceful dictation of this poem
Offers me hope that perhaps I can
Learn to listen, be a better man.