A Hopeful Spahr

Today in class we talked about Spahr’s poetry from a bleak, hopeless perspective. While I do understand this reading of Spahr, my overly optimistic nature isn’t completely satisfied with that reading. I found This Connection of Everything With Lungs to be infinitely moving and at times tragic, but I couldn’t help but view Spahr as a romantic. As opposed to the idea that a connection to everyone means everyone’s “hands are dirty,” I’ve always believed that the inter-connectedness of humans is a beautiful thing.

I read a quote in high school that really spoke to me that said, “We are all different and we are all the same.” High school (and most of adolescence) is spent simultaneously trying to fit in and stand out. Individualism is of the utmost importance and the idea that we are all the same seemed slightly devastating. Then I realized that the most beautiful thing about the human condition is how universal it is. We all feel love, we all feel loss, and we all feel a million emotions in between. We are all just trying to establish connections and feel something.

The thing I love about Spahr’s poetry is her simplicity. I love the contrast of the very specific to the very broad and how quietly poignant that contrast becomes. The lines that resonated most with me deal with this feeling of uniqueness and connection:

All I know is that I couldn’t get out of bed anymore without yous in my life.

And I know that my ties with yous are not unique.

That each of those one hundred and thirty-six people dead by politics’ human hands over the weekend had numerous people who felt the same way about them (38-39).

The first line is such a raw, genuine emotion that anyone can immediately relate to. People in intimate relationships and more generally people in love tend to feel like they are in on a big secret – like they are the first and last people to ever experience this type of love. But Spahr brings this elated feeling back to reality when she says that these ties are not unique.  The realization that we are all the same is incredibly humbling, but not at all negative. The fact that everyone experiences the same emotions makes them that much more powerful, and enhances our connection to and understanding of everyone around us.

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