One Arrangement Becomes Another

In her poem, Two Kerosene Lanterns, included in the publication above, Jane Hirshfield writes a poem about a cat in rearrangement.

The cat walks the narrow shelf beneath the window
where many delicate things are arranged — polished ammonites,
a dried starfish, three turtle netsuke,
a few curls of birch bark, two long-unused kerosene lanterns.

As if on their own, two hands fly up to cover the person’s face,
to cover the eyes already closed.

The crash, as it must, arrives.

The hands lower slowly.
The cat sits on the floor in the room’s middle, calmly licking one paw.

The law of cats is simple: one arrangement becomes another.

People are strange.

Um, yes. One arrangement becomes another. In the poem. In our life plans. In our work endeavors. It’s good to be reminded.

Next time I use Open Space Technology, I might need to add the “law of cats” — to welcome some surprise.

One arrangement becomes another.

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