Poetry adds spices to eternal truth so we can enjoy it – Tony Hoagland’s Doing This

The following poem by Tony Hoagland sings of how we are trapped by attachment and this world scrapes and grinds us. We have lost the ability to love because of our ego. But the poet, Tony Hoagland, does this beautifully with a story instead of spelling out the theories of attachment and ego. This is what poetry does. It boils eternal truth for us, adds a little spice, and then we can enjoy it.

Doing This
– Tony Hoagland

I’m driving back and forth
on the gravel lane
before the two-room, stucco house

of the woman I love. She’s inside,
making love with a woman
whose white car is parked in the driveway

and it, this car, disturbs me
more than anything. It sticks out of itself
so far into my life. Each time I pass,

I know, with a ten-pound sadness in my chest,
that I can’t keep doing this.
And now I realize, far too late,

I should have fought for her, should have
wept and begged and made the full,
hair-extracting spectacle

of what I felt. I should have
shed my pride.
What good is pride? When you die,

I know they turn you
inside out, to see what portion
of your god-allotted guts

you failed to spend on earth.
The ones who arrive in heaven
without a kopek of their fortune left

are welcomed, cheered, embraced.
The rest are chastised and reborn
as salesmen and librarians.

It’s so simple,
and that’s what gets me–that every time
I drive up and down this street,

looking at that white Toyota in the drive,
it messes up not just this life,
but my eternity as well.

But I keep doing it,
dragging myself back and forth
over this corner of the world

which scrapes and grinds against me,
like a rock on the bow of a ship.
Etching the errors in my surface

deeper, and deeper. And less forgiven.

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