Manifesto: Reclaiming the Wonder

I rediscovered this poem I wrote in November 2008 for an environmental writing class. It is a poem modeled after Wendell Berry’s, “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.” Somehow, it seems appropriate for the new beginning of this new year. I wrote it as I was emerging from a season of sadness during my junior year of college. I was actively seeking to reclaim the wonder I thought I had lost. Wonder is a lovely thing that comes naturally to children and somehow becomes foreign to us as adults. But why not reclaim it? I may have written this several years ago, but I think it still applies. I’ll probably always need reminders like this. How about you?

 Try not to judge me too harshly… I’m posting this as-is.

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Summer 2009, six months after writing this poem.

Manifesto: Reclaiming the Wonder
by Naomi Thorson Krueger

Seek joy.
Be thankful for happiness, but don’t expect it.
Say I love you.
Crunch fallen leaves.
Run against the wind.
Sing in the shower.
Hug large trees and toss milkweed fluff in the air.
Carry caterpillars and turtles to the other side of the road,
or bring them home and keep them in a box for a while.

Watch a monarch emerge from its chrysalis.
Wonder at a child learning how to ride a bike
and remember what it feels like to fall down and get back up.
Tell people you appreciate them,
because otherwise they may never know it.
Go someplace you’ve never been before,
then go back with a friend.

Ask others who they say God is.
Examine your life, for the unexamined life is not worth living.
Speak up for injustice,
Scream out against pain,
Mourn with the mourning,
and laugh when good triumphs.

Dance naked with the blinds closed: Love the self you hide.
Ask for directions even if you’ve been there a hundred times.
Start traditions (and keep them).
Find somebody to share your life with and promise to be “the one” forever,
even though there’s no such thing as the perfect man,
because there’s no such thing as the perfect woman.
Acknowledge that and move on—perfection is boring anyway.

Ask your grandparents to tell stories, especially the ones about
lost love, mistakes and rebellious adventures.

Admit you’re not okay,
even if you don’t know why.
Accept compliments.
Embrace the beautiful struggle of faith and life, and the impossible tension between.
Stop smiling sometimes.
Listen to your own breathing and get lost in your own rhythm.

The world should be more beautiful because you are in it—so plant trees and flowers, write poetry and paint pictures, sing loudly and dance freely, read everything.

Love God.
Love People.
“Practice resurrection.”*

Monarch up close

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