08/04/2014 02:10 pm ET Updated Oct 04, 2014

Kiss Everything on Fire

This fall, Sounds True is publishing a box set of teaching conversations based on the poems in my book Reduced to Joy. The poems are the teachers and unfold the journey from our head to our heart. For the next two months, I'm happy to be previewing poems and reflections from the box set.

Everyone who ever lived has had to negotiate the source of what they know and how to withstand the undue influence of others. This poem speaks to this.

Kiss Everything on Fire

Everyone keeps stopping me with their urgency.
As if the secret of life was written in a corner
of their mind and before they could
read it, it burst aflame.

The first hundred times, I rushed to do their
bidding. Then one day, exhausted by my own
secrets burning, I stopped running and
kissed everything on fire.

And yes, it scarred my lip and now
I have trouble saying anything complicated,
but wind no longer gets trapped in my head.

I know you understand. I've seen you suffer
the secrets no one asked us to keep secret. I've
seen them burning up your mind. But today,
we can part the veils and let in whatever
it is we thought we had to keep out.

Today, urgency dies because the heart
has burned its excuses.

A Question to Walk With: Begin to describe your history with urgency, when it first appeared in your life, how it has been reinforced or lessened, and the power it holds over you today.

For more poetry for the soul, click here.

For more by Mark Nepo, click here.