This Thing — Gretta Vosper

I’m grateful for this poem below. It is written by Gretta Vosper, a minister, writer, and atheist based in Canada. I’m grateful to my colleague and friend Katharine Weinmann, who posted this poem in her thoughtful blog / writing.

What moves me in the poem is the intersection between what are quite sacred orientations — choice, freedom, rights — and the reality of a communal existence — “us.” Because this is the intersection that many of us are trying to evolve more meaningfully into. Many of us are adapting our way into difficult territory, or scaled reality, of identifying as collective, seeking sustainable good, which is sometimes different that personal good. We are living a change of story perpetuated through multiple generations, and calcified through eras — industrialization, digitized everything that have rendered emergent properties of individuals harmful to properties needed as collective.

For inspiration, for us orienting to the “us of us.”


There is this thing called choice
that we value so highly.
Free will, some call it,
all our decisions
left to ourselves.

There is this thing call freedom
that we value so highly.
Live free or die trying,
all our purposes
set by our own hand.

There is this thing call rights
that we value to highly.
The right to decide, to protect.
Everything sits upon it.

There is this thing called us
that we struggle to value.
Us eclipses my choices, 
my freedom,
my rights.

Us means it’s harder, more complex, unknown.

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