Poem: Subtraction


You walk in and immediately begin to subtract,
to remove things, mentally pulling off the tablecloth,
baring the wood underneath,
Putting the silverplate in a cupboard. Leaving
maybe a candle or two. Maybe.

And once the table is cleared, you turn
There is more. There is always more you have no need for,
content with expanses, empty space, room
for possibilities, or for work, It brings you
peace. Each thing becomes and anxiety released.

You were not always that way. Once you craved things.
They were a measurement, you believed,
Of what, you could not say, for once they were stripped away
you found yourself more complete. More at peace.
You find in the emptiness, not happiness,
but joy.

About this poem.

This morning I preached about happiness and joy. How happiness comes from external things, and joy comes from the internal, God in us.

I am something of a minimalist. I did not discover this about myself until my divorce when I left our 4,500 sq foot home packed with furniture and stuff for a small 800 sq ft apartment, and found…. I liked it. A lot. Even today, more than a decade later, too much stuff causes me a bit of anxiety.

From those things, this poem.

The picture was taken at Wilson Castle in Proctor, VT.


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