Taking Lessons from Hermes

These wicked thoughts—
sometimes I try
to track them back
to their evil origins.
Perhaps they have learned
to put their sandals on backward
because they appear
to have started
with me.

I was a wilderness once.
I was howl and burrow
and shriek and claw.
I was moon and snow
on snow. Sometimes,
just before I set the alarm
I still can smell it,
the sharp gray scrape of sage,
the sweetness of trees
I never learned to name.

Short and Sweet

come closer
love, so close
you can hear
the red thrum
of my please
be a bee
to my poppy
a drop of
rain to
be sun
to my

I want to stand behind your mirror
so that every time you see yourself
I speak for your reflection and say,
“You are beautiful. Every inch
of your body is beautiful,
is exactly the way it should be.
I love your eyes, your hair, your neck,
your arms, I love your shoulders,
the color of your skin. I love
your waist and your hands and
your legs and your every toe.”
I have seen the way you scowl
at yourself, have seen you steal
a look in the mirror and wince
at what you see. I see you,
I see you so clearly, the way
you open your heart to the world
and close it to yourself.
Your beauty has nothing to do
with the clothes that you wear
or the length of your hair or
your height or the number
on the scale. You belong
in this world just as you are—
you are life’s ambassador
building a bridge between you
and all other life, and what
a beautiful job you do.
I see you, I see you. And if I cannot
stand behind your mirror, then
I will nourish the seed in you
that knows with all certainty
how beautiful, how vital,
how essential you are, I will
nourish that seed until it blooms
so fully that never again
will you let any mirror or
anyone else tell you otherwise,
not even yourself. But it
is an inside job—no matter
how much I might suggest
you are beautiful, the conviction
must come from you. See how
beautiful you are even
in how you believe you are not
beautiful? Each day more you
than the day before.

Easy enough to love them when they are snuggling
with us and making up songs or stories. Easy to love them

when they are sleeping and still. But deeper the love
that blossoms when they are kick or shout

or recoil from our gentlest touch.
And deeper still the love, love like a pellucid, icy

mountain lake that we choose to jump into and swim
when we learn to forgive them for not forgiving us.

Oh how it takes our breath away, and painful as it is,
we can’t help but think how good it feels, how clear.

The Impulse is to Hold On

these lovely days—
scattering their petals
like summer roses

Dear poetry friends,

Thank you for receiving these poems every day, some of you for nearly nine years! I am grateful for every response you send me, grateful that you read them at all and give them wings.

If you are interested in buying a book of poems for someone for the holidays, well, I just happen to have a few. I would, of course, be happy to sign the books, too, with a message to the recipient. You can find most of my books and CDs on my website at http://www.wordwoman.com/books/books.htm , but if you are interested in ordering my book of poetry conversations with Rumi, “The Miracle Already Happening,” then you will need to send me an email.

And here are two other gift ideas: After turning down requests to do poetry one-on-one sessions for years, I finally made room in my schedule to work with (more play, really) a few select clients who are interested in exploring their own voices and improving their writing. I am just loving it! Playing poetry with people is one of my favorite things to do. The cost is $75/hour, or $350 for five sessions paid in advance. Sessions can be done in person for San Miguel County residents (perhaps Ouray County, too), or on the phone. If you are interested, send me an email at wordwoman@mesa.net. Maybe it could be a gift for you!

And lastly, I am offering a four-day painting and poetry retreat for women in late February, co-teaching with the phenomenal painter Brucie Holler. It’s offered through the Ah Haa School, and you can find out more about it here: http://www.ahhaa.org/calendarize/going-going-five-day-art-writing-retreat-women/ If you live out of town, they can help you find housing to suit your budget.

Soon I will be letting you know about other writing class opportunities in January and February in Telluride and Ridgway, some of them for free, plus several performances coming up, including two Literary Burlesque performances in Paonia and Telluride.

Again, thank you for participating in this poem-a-day practice with me,



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