Here is “What If?” as recited by Erica Zohreh Habibi. Hearing this transformed the poem for me (and I composed it…)
What if the world were flat.
Would that change the color of your favorite tree?
What if you only had one more day to live.
Tell me what you’d want to do then.
What if the one you loved the most
Suddenly were not here.
Oh yes, there’d be grief and mourning.
And after that? What then?
What if we opened the treasure chest:
Not the imaginary one in the fairy tales.
No, no. The real one inside each of our hearts.
What if it held the answers to
The riddles we’ve been asking the
Rest of the world to solve for us?
Oh, yes: I know that I had been waiting
For the answers to come from you,
Or some expert in the field of art,
Or a skilled and talented reader of
Human psyche and aura fields,
Or at least from a friend who can
See me better than I can see myself.
Then, one day the expectation and waiting
Dissipated. No explanation. And in that
Emptiness, with only my own reflection
As companion, I came to this truth:
I don’t want you to miss me when I’m gone.
I want to live the sort of life that invites you
To be the biggest, best you possible.
My one, shining wish is that my life
Would be enough of a beacon to let you
See the brilliance that is your beauty
And your gift to the world.
For when I allow you to see your own
That is when I can most vividly see
What if that is all there is?
~ spontaneously composed by Stan Stewart
~ Copyright © 2014 by muz4now, inc. and Stan Stewart. All rights reserved.
This poem is my response to a prompt by Seth Godin. He is the author of 18 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything.
Who would miss you if you were gone? If you didn’t show up to work, didn’t send out that newsletter, didn’t make that sales call, didn’t tweet that tweet… who would miss it? How does your answer shape how you’ll live out now?