Be very clear about this,
If about nothing else:
These things in boxes and bags
And polythene wraps…
They are not your life
And they never were.

There arose in you
A confusion;
You mis-placed the world
In these objects of desire
Of memory and

It is possible to walk away;
It is difficult, but possible.
It is discouraged, but it is possible.
It is possible and, ultimately, essential
To turn to these things and say:
        You are not me;
        You are not my life;
        You are not my home;
        You are not in my heart
        And you never were.
And leave them all behind,
Regaining your sanity
At the expense of all the things
You thought you owned,
But were in the end simply ballast
For the great being of your life,
Until the time came
When you were ready
To spread your wings
And fly.


13 thoughts on “Ballast

  1. Looking at our need to possess things as ballast is beautiful. The timing of your rediscovery is divine, and in itself is a poem.

  2. “Until the time came
    When you were ready
    To spread your wings
    And fly.”

    We are taught to get things but rarely do we remember to release in order to be filled again. Letting go and trusting that we carry our essence in our hearts, in every step along this mysterious path.

    To emptying out and getting ready to receive all the blessings you deserve!

    Wonderful wise piece Tom!

  3. Oh, very beautiful, Tom of Coyopa. To turn and walk away, and in the turning away to discover the wings that are suddenly given room to unfold, and the weightlessness of the emptied self.

    Yet (oh, the voice of clinging desire!) – so much of those objects and things (and their colors and textures and stories and charm) I have fondly mixed into my own identity (which is…oh! – there’s that emptiness again…)

  4. It is how I see it too…sometimes it feels as if I am tied to these things – and they keep me in a place – or better they keep me there in my thoughts…funny enough I am just about to go through my things again – letting go – to free myself from the past – to learn to fly…:) beautiful poem…and soo true – thanks for sharing – amazing timing – blessings to you :)

  5. I found your site by way of The Reformed Buddhist (your comment on a being a Buddhoid resonated with me).

    This is a lovely poem.

  6. Thank you all for your appreciative words! I’m pleased to report that, having revisited the house where I left so much ballast for the next tenants (friends of mine with more a more current desire for Things) and where I was Tempted by the Demon of Things-That-Were-Once-Mine, I came away with no more than I arrived with. The ballast is no longer necessary. Only we can know when and where and how much we need. Most of the time, we don’t even know that and continue to accumulate by default. Making our relationships with all this Stuff conscious, that seems to be one of the avenues to explore…

    To fly with our feet in the earth…

    Today’s seeming-paradox.

  7. Odd that I would run across you this day…A gift from Rima…and then to find my way to this poem that speaks to the very season of my life I find myself in. Could I post it to my blog?

    1. I’m glad the words touched you, Anita – and yes, please do use it on your blog if you’d like to (with the usual caveat of attribution and a link, as I’m sure you’d put anyway!) I’m in a more acquiring phase again these days as I begin my acupuncture degree and root down in Devon, but I intend for the ballast to not be too great. We’ll see. The growth of it and the letting-go of it have their own cycles. Thanks for commenting :)

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