Live Virtual Group Session: 7pm EDT May 15th 2020

At tonight’s session we welcomed familiar faces from around the US — Pennsylvania, Indiana, Iowa, and more — and also from India, to read the poem “Perhaps the World Ends Here,” by Poet Laureate of the United States Joy Harjo, posted below.

The poem invited a range of readings and responses, as participants reflected on the literal and metaphorical representation of the kitchen table. One person referred to the way the poem was bracketed — like life — by a beginning and an ending; another wondered why the ending was the focus, reflected in the poet’s choice of title. Importantly, one participant noted the privilege embedded in the very notion of home represented by the table image. The diversity of responses pointed itself to the value of narrative medicine, in its invitation to engage with the experiences and interpretations of others.

As we responded in writing to the prompt, “At this table…” this idea was reflected again in participants’ shared writing, which — through that one powerful image — opened into a world of memories, dreams, and connections.

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

Please join us for our next session Sunday, May 17th at 2pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

We look forward to seeing you again soon!

Perhaps the World Ends Here by Joy Harjo

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.

“Perhaps the World Ends Here” from The Woman Who Fell From the Sky by Joy Harjo. Copyright © 1994 by Joy Harjo.

One thought on “Live Virtual Group Session: 7pm EDT May 15th 2020

  1. michele348

    At this table, my world revolves
    Nondescript in size and stature, but the power to draw all close
    ~~~~
    Writing letters to relatives with my love enclosed
    Helping with schoolwork, a never-ending task
    Painting kindness rocks for others to find, forgiving me for the rainbow of colors spattered about
    Teaching table manners to my grandchildren, don’t talk with your mouth full, Brady
    Paying the household bills yes, I still do it the old-fashioned way
    Crying my eyes out when I received news of my brother’s death, such a great loss
    Spotting the song birds of many colors that come to the feeder, reassuring me daily that life goes on
    Listening to family describing their day, the happy times and the disappointments which filter in
    Playing board games with the children where there’s never enough elbow space for everyone
    Talking about the news of the day, these days there’s plenty to say
    ~~~~
    It’s part of my family, a trusted friend
    Always there to support me, through the good and the bad
    A place to reminisce and to explore
    A place to pray for those seated around and for those far away but always close in my heart
    Thank you, good friend
    ~~~~
    At this table, my world revolves

    Like

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