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“The Place Where We Are Right”

tree with heartsHere’s a short and simple poem that reminds me that nothing new can grow between us when we speak to each other from “the place where we are right.”

The poem leads me to ask: How might things change if we began our political conversations not from our certainties, but from our “doubts and loves”?

Many of us who differ politically love the same things — our children and grandchildren, our country, the natural world. Many of us who differ politically harbor the same doubts — that what’s being done (or not done) to care for the things we love is the best or the right thing to do.

Yes, we differ on what ought to be done. But what if instead of starting by arguing over solutions — over “the place where we are right” — we began by sharing our loves and doubts? I suspect that our conversations would be much more productive because they would proceed from common ground.

Hey, it’s worth a try!

Yehuda Amichai is widely regarded as Israel’s greatest modern poet. If you read “The Place Where We Are Right” while remembering the political context in which it was written, the poem’s power multiplies.

The Place Where We Are Right

by Yehuda Amichai

From the place where we are right
flowers will never grow
in the Spring.

The place where we are right
is hard and trampled
like a yard.

But doubts and loves
dig up the world
like a mole, a plough.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
where the ruined
house once stood.

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