“When You’re Afraid…” by Gregory Orr

Gregory Orr

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When you’re afraid
You’re afraid
Of something.

When you dread,
It’s Nothing
That you dread
(so the philosopher
said).

Nothing
Can be
Terrifying.
But don’t get
Confused: a blank
Page in the Book
Isn’t Nothing.

It’s something
Waiting to happen,
It’s the beloved
Holding her breath,
Hoping you’ll write or call.

from Rattle #24, Winter 2005

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Gregory Orr: “I apologize if these words seem really simple or simplistic, but to me when you read a poem that really, really moves you, you get both hope and courage from it. You really do. I know these words are hard to work with, because they sound naive. But they’re not naive, they’re fundamental. I think when I read a poem that deeply moves me, that feels beautiful and moving, I feel as though I’ve been given more courage to live.”