Just when you think nothing more can fit on the parking strip at the corner of South Plum and 32nd Avenue South in Mt. Baker, suddenly four yellow chairs appear! Tese Neighbor (yes, that is her name) has been manning Plum Street Poetry Post for more than five years. This week she posted her 498th poem: “You Reading This, Be Ready” by William Stafford. A few months ago, she joined others in the community and built Plum Street P-Patch. Now she has added “inspirational yard art with a function” right next to the flourishing community gardens.
Tese explains it this way: Earlier this spring, she was deep in another “how can we help save the world” conversation with her dear friend Beth. They were walking through Interlaken Park and came across two adult chairs and two child chairs (facing each other at six feet apart). “Take action” quotes were painted on the chairs. After reading these to each other, they sat down on the chairs and they became inspired. Tese immediately headed to Goodwill to resurrect/recreate her own chairs. Why? For the same reason, she puts out new poems each week. If only one passerby-er can leave with a lighter step, an upturned face and smile, a “make a difference” poem in their hand or chair quote in their heart (and hopefully corresponding action), she too will “keep on, keeping on.”
Here are some of her “chair quotes.”
No one has the right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do. (Dorothy Day)
Tell a joke. Talk to a plant. Walk instead of ride. No human is illegal. Never judge a day by the weather. Speak softly and wear a loud shirt. Forgive quickly. Kiss slowly.
Remember that the best things in life are not things.
In a world where you can be anything, be kind.
Wilbur never forgot Charlotte.
Yes (William Stafford)
It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.
It could, you know. That’s why we wake
and look out––no guarantees
in this life.
But some bonuses, like morning,
like right now, like noon,
Come by and have a seat. Perhaps sneak a tiny tomato into your mouth.