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Two Roads Converged

Illustration by Matt Manley
October 02, 2018

Two Roads Converged

All my life I’ve followed a couple of paths—poetry and poetry in motion. As a dancer-turned-yogi who has always written poems, I used to feel I was doing the splits, straddling two dissimilar and distant worlds—poetry, being arguably the most refined of the verbal arts, and dance, (arguably) the most refined of the physical arts. It felt hard, and often, lonely.

Over the years, the paths became less polar and more parallel, but without much intersection except for the occasional project. These days, the roads are converging. I write often on the theme of body-as-home, and I teach yoga as a means of achieving a poetic state. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all poetry.

We’re heading to Ireland soon, and today we ran across something in Yeats’s autobiography that spoke directly to the issue of dueling passions. In Yeats’s words, the task of fusing two passions is simply to “keep from constraining one by the other, and they would become one interest.” 

So on to the poem featured in the Fall issue of NAR. My yoga studio has served as a voting place for the last quarter century. For the 2016 Presidential Election, all classes had been meditatively preparing the space with every breath. This poem was written on returning to the studio post-election. The voting machines were stacked by the wall. The rest is history.  

Yoga Studio

The voting machines are lined up

            in the corner facing the wall,

being punished for what they said,

            for what they didn’t say, for giving

the wrong answer, for saying bad words.

 

            The yoga mats spread across the room, 

opening their bright graves.  We all

            fall in.  We all want out, including

the voting machines, but now their wings

            are folded, and our wings are also

 

folded.  The votes are counted.  We close

            our eyes, inhale.  Our graves are flying

carpets.  We find the strongest wind we can.

TownleyRewriting the Body

Wyatt Townley is Poet Laureate of Kansas Emerita. Her new book of poems, Rewriting the Body, is out October 15 from Stephen F. Austin State University Press (www.tamupress.com). Other collections of poetry include The Breathing Field, Perfectly Normal, and The Afterlives of Trees, a Kansas Notable Book and winner of the Nelson Award. Wyatt’s work has been featured in “American Life in Poetry,” The Writers Almanac, and journals including North American Review, Nimrod, The Paris Review, Pleiades, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, The Common, and The Yale Review

Formerly a dancer, Wyatt has taught yoga for decades and is the founder of Yoganetics™, a therapeutic system practiced in ten countries. HarperCollins published her book on the method, selected as an Editor’s Choice by Yoga Journal. She is married to poet and children’s author Roderick Townley. 

llustration by Matt Manley. Matt has been working as a freelance illustrator for over twenty years. His illustration is primarily figurative and symbolic with surrealist leanings, and past client work includes editorial, corporate, medical, book, and higher education. Though in the end his work is technically digital collage, the process integrates both traditional and digital media.

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