Life, Lanyards, and Partners

No fiction this week. Instead, snippets of a couple of poems from past poet laureate Billy Collins and a little lesson on the benefit of putting competitiveness aside.


by Billy Collins

Book Beginnings: 

Looker, gazer, skimmer, skipper,
thumb-licking page turner, peruser,
you getting your print-fix for the day,
pencil-chewer, note taker, marginalianist
with your checks and X’s
first-timer or revisiter,
browser, speedster, English major,
flight-ready girl, melancholy boy,
invisible companion, thief, blind date, perfect stranger—

Friday 56: 

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.



by Jean Oelwang

Book Beginnings: On June 28, 2015, André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard had to make the most difficult decision of their lives. André was alone in the cramped cockpit of a plane called Solar Impulse, built to fly around the world using only the power of the sun collected in its seventeen thousand solar panels. Pasted above the controls was a picture of his beloved wife, Yasemin, and their three children. André was only a few hours into a treacherous five-day flight over the Pacific from Nagoya, Japan, to Hawaii.

Friday 56: It’s much easier to jump all-in and stay all-in when there is no battle for recognition or first place. Because they met and partnered later in life, Ray and Peter had the experience, the humility, and the wisdom to understand the great value of joyful collaboration. “You can accomplish exponentially more in a partnership. It infinitely extends your reach,” said Peter. “But it’s also much more fun and so much more satisfying to know ‘Hey, we did this together.’ Ray is insanely willful and crazily patient. For him, being patient is critical to building larger collectives, as is staying out of the spotlight. I’d say it’s humility and courage that have kept us going forward.” A core part of their secret is their “stick-to-itiveness,” as Peter mentioned, and “not being a philanthropic dilettante.” After sixteen years, countless hurdles, a successful global, cross-sector collaboration, and a Deep Connection founded on great love and respect for each other, Ray and Peter are clearly all-in for the long game when malaria is no longer one of the world’s deadliest diseases. And they were both clear that they will never give up.

Links You May Need