I was reminded of this poem by Jane Hirshfield as I wrote “Monochrome
” just minutes ago. While we make a lot of choices, habits often choose us. We don’t know where we picked them from. This
poem is really about the universal guru. The teacher who is teaching us all the time. Making habits all the time. To form good habits, we need good company. Sing in the company of the sweet singers, shiv.
– Jane Hirshfield
The morning potion’s teaspoon
of sweetness stirred always
for seven circlings—no fewer, no more—
into the cracked blue cup.
Touching the pocket for wallet,
before closing the door.
How did we come
to believe these small rituals’ promise,
that we are today the selves we yesterday knew,
tomorrow will be?
How intimate and unthinking,
the way the toothbrush is shaken dry after use,
the part we wash first in the bath.
Which habits we learned from others
and which are ours alone we may never know.
Unbearable to acknowledge
how much they are themselves our fated life.
Open the traveling suitcase—
There the beloved red sweater,
bright tangle of necklace, earrings of amber.
Each confirming: I chose these, I.
But habit is different: it chooses.
And we, its good horse,
opening our mouths at even the sight of the bit.