Improvement- Poem by Ali Grimshaw

Do birds tweet tips to build the ultimate nest
the perfect moss, twigs and feathers, 
compare upgrades while glancing at neighboring trees?
Are their morning songs full of howtos
improvements for the hatching experience 
which worms provide ultimate first year growth? 
Do they evaluate whose chick flies first
beak prodding, edging young to the side of the nest?

Do whales train for the record breaking swim 
gossip about sleek oils to reduce resistance, 
or share tips for secret feeding grounds?
Do they nose their young to be better, faster, more
than the last generation in hope of survival?
Do they feel the temperature change 
of homeland waters and wonder?

What does it mean to live up to your full potential?
Who decides what that looks like while growing inside
a cage of culture we have been born into? More is 
better or not, faster? Further? More fragile?
What says the wisdom of each being? 

When have I last heard my beating heart?

© Ali Grimshaw 2021 

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35 thoughts on “Improvement- Poem by Ali Grimshaw

  1. You have my heart with this poem, Ali! Especially resonate with; “Who decides what that looks like while growing inside a cage of culture we have been born into?”💝💝

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “What does it mean to live up to your full potential?” I think I’m happiest when I just embrace the tranquility in the moment, am one with nature, and know I am perfect in my imperfections. Improvement comes only after this acknowledgment! 💗

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful, Ali. I was transported to sky and heaven and deep into the ocean and back to earth again! I love poems made up of questions, they make the reader add their own dialogue to the poem as they read. I especially love the second stanza about whales ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love what you did with this poem, Ali. Lessons learned from the birds and nature should teach us something, but we never seem to learn. We keep pushing and striving and trying to get ahead at all cost!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There is so much to unpack here, but I truly love these lines:

    ‘What does it mean to live up to your full potential?
    Who decides what that looks like while growing inside
    a cage of culture we have been born into?”

    Ali, this is a superb poem. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. trE, your feedback means so much. This is not my usual and yet these words begged to be spoken today. How can we live with and learn from the natural world? How can we move beyond what we have been to create the next?
      Wishing you peace,

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Clarissa Pinkola-Estes talks about the pressures to conform. She says there are maybe 12-15 molds of cultural being that every unique individual is getting shoved into. That leaves a lot of folks feeling “wrong” when it is the system that is so. Thank you for your thoughtful poem, Ali.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is interesting. I think our brains are used to categorizing. This tendency can be helpful and not helpful depending on the circumstance. It can get in the way of people seeing others.
      Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Carrie,
      Thanks for your reflection. Yes, consensus reality! The most agreement doesn’t always mean what we think. You know how much I love the questions.
      Poetry gives us an opportunity to try on lots of different kinds of glasses.
      Wishing you peace.

      Liked by 1 person

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