Driving Home

“It’s perfect,” I said one day,
coming out of nothing I knew,
to no one sitting beside me,
while driving home from the market,
said this without thinking, it seems,
but could there be such a pure expression
with no intention to express?

This stanza reminds the reader that even the most seemingly insignificant things in life, whether a small observation or the repetitive act of driving home, can have a large impact on the person experiencing them. -Sarah Branz, age 21

The fields were incomparably green,
the sky incomparably blue,
lupine and poppies almost
blared from the hillsides.
At least that’s the way I thought it.

I like how the poppies blared from the hillside. I think
we often notice the beauty of the earth when we least expect it, like while driving home from
shopping. -Rachel McGuinness, age 20

“You were made for enjoyment,”
Ruskin said,
“And the world is filled with things you will enjoy.”
but every day I stumble
over cries I can’t still.

I had to pause at Gerber's turn in the fourth stanza, in which he states, "but every day I stumble / over cries I can't still." Here, he speaks to both a wide and individual audience, as he addresses personal and universal conflicts both vague and unique. This prepares the reader for the large and small examples he gives in later stanzas, and creates the image of society, and individual, in turmoil. -Lauren Carlson, age 23

“The world is suffering.”
Say it twice, and it’s not the same
“The world is suffering.”

I love how the poet repeats "The world is suffering" after pointing out that each moment bears its own suffering. So the reader gets involved in the fluid nature of suffering. -Patricia Schlutt, age 18

Disease, eviction, envy, grief,
loneliness, rejection, dementia,
judgment, self-judgment,
when those I love
may not love each other,
or me,

In the sixth stanza, Gerber again trades the universal for the personal, dredging the reader in worldwide conflicts almost too widespread to touch, and then providing tangible examples relatable to almost any reader. "when those I love / may not love each other / or me," speaks volumes, reconnecting the speaker to the subject matter. -Lauren Carlson, age 23

anger, suffocation, helplessness,
this helplessness,
my suffering of choice at the moment.

Ithink everyone can relate to this feeling of suffering and helplessness. At times, it can be easier to wallow in everything sad and bad about the world as opposed to the possibility of all the good things that can happen. -Rachel McGuinness, age 20

My friend’s daughter, the pianist,
whose index finger, lost to sarcoma,
I can’t replace,
my daughter whose breast, I can’t replace,
my dear friends whose murdered son
I can’t replace,
all over which
I’m at this moment suffering,
though they may be,
at this moment, not.

True, isn't it, that we might suffer for others who we surmise are suffering, but actually are not. The urge to replace what is lost shows a strong sentimentality in the speaker who has difficulty letting go, holding too close to a form of joy, that once it's gone and is held onto becomes a form of suffering--holding on to an idea or echo of joy that is no longer joy but pain. -Zachary Tomaszewski, age 22

Closer to home,
I pull off along the side of the road,
staunched by the fleeting, incomparable
of the world in which everything happens.

I love the contrast of beauty and suffering. Because the poem is so focused on suffering, the beauty at the end is unexpected and tinted with sorrow, which makes it shine brighter. -Patricia Schlutt, age 18
“Driving Home” shows how the human spirit is capable of finding beauty and perfection
even in the face of sadness and suffering. -Daisy Hall, age 14
The most powerful part about this poem is that the feeling of peace and perfection came
out of nowhere; there was no special event prompting it, only a simple drive home from the supermarket. The beauty in this is that there does not need to be a special reason to see the world as a place of “incomparable beauty,” since it is always that way; we just need to see it for what it is. Therefore, we need to not invent grief where it does not exist but instead look at the big picture. -Laura Crouch, age 20
Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.