Turn to the Gutter

100_1044Walking on a downtown Salt Lake City street during a seminar lunch break, I became aware of how my gaze tended to turn downward on the trash that had collected in the gutter.  The words “trash” and “gutter” are well-known and perhaps over-used metaphors for the vulgar and profane.  I wondered, with some private embarrassment, why I persisted in looking downward instead of lifting my gaze to the trees, birds, architecture, and sky.  I wrote this poem to recognize and resist the temptation to look downward during life, and to encourage myself and others to raise our sights and to focus on beauty, on love, and on kindness and other noble attributes.  The gutter and its trash will still be there, but we need pay them no mind.


Birds sing a-wing
in the ocean-blue sky,
perch on arched windows
and brick parapets.
Trees waive and bow,
flowers show splendor.
But I:
I turn my gaze, and
miss it;
I turn to the gutter,
lies and tokens, and
miss it all.

8 thoughts on “Turn to the Gutter

  1. maggiepea

    “We view the world, not as it is, but as we are”. Harv and I were talking about this the other day. We can see all the bad things going around us, even in the top levels of our government, and focus on that continually and where it is going to end up and how we will survive it all and on and on, on this topic; or, we can choose to be aware of these things and prepare ourselves for emergencies but moreso choose to see the brighter side of life (which is always there). When we dwell too much on the “gutter aspects of life”, that becomes our reality. I choose to live in a beautiful world, even if others accuse me of living in a dream world; better than living in a nightmare!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. maggiepea

        I often have the nagging feeling I am not doing enough. Maybe this is a new “role” I have to step into, an adult role. As adults, we become the responsible ones. But we need to realize there is only so much we can do and almost “harden ourselves” to the things beyond our control. Not just on the Big Scale with world events, it’s easy to realize we can’t do too much there but even in our personal lives.

        Liked by 1 person

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