Friday, June 16, 2017

Active listening

I scoured every word you uttered.
I scaled carefully in between lines, staking out each possible path toward discerning
all of your hidden meanings.
I chalked the hands of my focus, ensuring I could catch and grip
each of your non-verbal hints long enough to climb the mountain of our misunderstanding
until we could reach some shared summit.
I avoided all unsteady crevasses, hasty assumptions, and crumbling interruptions so that I might hear better the toe-holds to your thoughts.
I was so careful, that you laughed and said that I creeped like a creep,
I treated the plain planes of your intentions as if they were an Everest.
and that left you wondering
if it was you that I feared such a moron or if I was the dullard
to require such safety measures in active listening.
You couldn't decide if you should be offended,
but you were any way
out of principle
unwilling to be metaphorically scoured and scaled.
It occurs to me that I do not need to attend every word.
Even in the dark I could find your heart,
just by stilling my mind,
and closing my eyes,
to find the steady drip, drip
of what you want and why
letting the rest dip away unheard
like stone wearing way under water
at sea level.
No climbing required to actively listen
and echo you back
until we know we're understood.
This act of active listening
is less action
and more
than implied.
The peak of Mt. Wheeler in Great Basin National Park, where climbers frequently stack stones while listening to the wind together.

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