Tuesday, 31 March 2015

With fifteen minutes and nothing much to do

Pirates and Mermaids. illustration by Marina Wild
In the midst of the daily bustle it happens that suddenly you,
Find yourself with fifteen minutes and nothing much to do.
You could in those nine hundred seconds precise,
Take a melon from the press and cut yourself a slice,
Or plan a new renewable energy source powered by giant mutant mice.
You could of course lie back, close your eyes and dream
Of oceans and sands kissed by many a dazzling sun beam,
While mermaids and pirates leap through waves all agleam.
You could practice a tune on some maracas or a flute
Or, as my children suggest, let rip a fruity toot toot,
Or even prance about wearing only yir birthday suit.

You could step outside and take a walk in the wind or rain or sun
(A simple walk is scientifically proven to be a wondrous medicine),
Or read a page of your favourite book and try to guess
What the characters in the plot will get up to next,
Or of course practise a simple relaxation technique
That’ll calm the brain and heart and leave the mind fine and sleek,
Or open up your imagination and have a little peek.

But rather than accept the wonder of the moment you’re living in,
There are some who feel compelled to switch on the internet connection,
To see if a better bigger bolder piece of news lies waiting in the inbox,
And needs to be dealt with this instant lest a golden opportunity be lost.
Yet fifteen minutes is scarcely time enough to even lightly scan
Any messages - with no time over to consider, process, think and plan
Whether to respond, file, delete, mark as ‘to do’ or ‘act urgently on’.
With such a short span of time all you can do is make decisions that lack Consideration or contemplation, and serve only to tack
More frustration, confusion and complications on to your weary back.

In the midst of the daily bustle it happens that suddenly you
Find yourself with fifteen minutes and nothing much to do,
When you’ll get such time again is more than I can guess
So don’t waste it with clutter, distraction and mental stress
Instead, let every second stretch and fill with joy and mindfulness
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I wrote this poem in response to, and partly based on, the article Ten Things to Do Instead of Checking Email  by Natalie Houston in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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