So it's National Poetry Month, and I keep getting emails about all the events happening. One is the writing challenge, NAPO, to write a poem a day from prompts. If only I could write that fast. Another from Poets and Writers--is to build a better platform for marketing oneself. I am so unskilled at marketing that I can only stare at the first day's prompt: to define who I am. And now it's day 2 and I am still stuck on day 1.
I love the question, but the answers are always so unsatisfactory.
After years of philosophy and religion classes, I still have no clue . . . Two answers come to mind. One from Socrates (but of course):
I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.
And there from Bonhoeffer, whose works I loved, back when I read theology enthusiastically. I am reminded of his famous poem, "Who Am I?" The last stanza:
Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today, and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
and before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, thou knowest, O God, I am thine.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer from his cell in Berlin as the last days of his life and the last days of World War II ran out together.
As quoted in The Call by Os Guinness, p25.
Nin Andrews is the author of 5 full collections of poetry and 5 chapbooks. She is also the editor of a book of translations of the Belgian poet, Henri Michaux. She keeps a literary blog and a blog of physics comics.