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Teachers Share Poems They Read at the End of Class

Yoga Teacher Danni Pomplun shares his favorite poem to wind down class.

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 Advice to Myself, by Louise Erdrich

Leave the dishes.

Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator

and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor…

Let the wind have its way, then the earth

that invades as dust and then the dead

foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.

Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome…

Pursue the authentic—decide first

what is authentic,

then go after it with all your heart.

Your heart, that place

you don’t even think of cleaning out…

Accept new forms of life

and talk to the dead

who drift in through the screened windows, who collect

patiently on the tops of food jars and books.

Recycle the mail, don’t read it, don’t read anything

except what destroys

the insulation between yourself and your experience

or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters

this ruse you call necessity.

We’re inundated with information—and yet, we are starving for wisdom. What I love about this poem is the message not to fuss with the small stuff. Don’t waste your time and your energy trying to manipulate the dust or shove things under the rug: “Let the celery rot in the drawer,” and talk to the dust bunnies—get to know them. 

This poem reminds me of the idea in yoga that you don’t have to imitate the person next to you: When you can embody where you’re really at, instead of being addicted to the drama or forcing your body into a shape, you can connect to a greater version of yourself.

Danni Pomplun, San Francisco–based yoga teacher