Without even leaving one’s door,
One can know the whole world.

The rumble of the night sounds
even in the bright daylight
of morning. Life blooms amid
the Ten Thousand Things, but
does not bloom amid the Ten
Thousand Things. Shrivel-eyed
I wake up and tend to the One
here and now, clamoring to be
let out. Down with the gate,
out with the boy, to the rooms
of life’s necessities, first
to void and next to fill.
The Order is only order which
is disorder, the only Disorder
is the disorder that is order.
We usher ourselves, each in our
own way, back down the way
for various brushings, combings,
other groomings. Each in our
own way we urge the other
toward some kind of growth:
one to assume, the other   
to renounce; one to grow larger,
the other to grow smaller,
thereby growing larger. Words
do not work, and when they do not,
other words might. This makes
more sense than it seems, works
more often than it doesn’t,
except when it really doesn’t,
and then that disorder creeps
back in. In five minutes,
a different challenge. In five
hours, a different One. Six
more hours, the One is rubbing
eyes, untangled like a dragon,
shucked and undone like an oyster.
The night slowly rolls abed
and the words form stories form
sleep, the sleep of the Ten
Thousand Things, the sleep
that will echo the next day
in the night’s rumbling sounds,
in the bright light of morning.

Note to Poetry Out Loud students: This poem begins with an epigraph that must be recited. Omitting the epigraph will affect your accuracy score.

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"I learned that no matter how many times I do it, I will still be nervous when I speak in public. I also learned that it is possible to experience the same poem many times in a row and still feel like I am discovering something new about myself through the words of the writer."
Madeleine Schroeder
2017 OH POL Champion