How to make peace with your shadow side? Perhaps a game of shadow tag. Two years ago, I wrote this poem, published today in Journey of the Heart, an exploration of shadow and light. This blog of Women’s Spiritual Poetry continues to make my heart sing–so many fine poems and wonderful poets on the site to explore.
Posts Tagged ‘letting go’
I want to hear that you have forgiven me.
I want to hear that you see how we sail
on the water of our mistakes.
I do not know how to sail, love,
and I get sick at sea,
but here we are
like two drunks
in a tiny boat
with no map
and big waves
we might just
go back in that sea,
I’m not saying we won’t,
but for this moment,
it all seems so funny,
so funny, we have no life vests,
no oars, and the sail has holes,
We’re surrounded by water
we cannot drink, and I don’t
see any land, but here we
are, darling, here we are,
with just the right weather
for me to forget that there’s anything
I think I need to hear.
There are no arms
on the woman in the picture,
the one my daughter
drew and handed to me,
saying, “Mommy, this is you.”
She was so proud, her eyes
so alive, and the green crayon lines
show a woman with long hair,
long legs and a big lopsided smile.
And no arms.
It is not that I mind being elbowless,
but my friend Jack once told me
that children who draw people with no arms
are disempowered, and there
are studies to prove it, he said,
how their lack of agency
lasts into adulthood.
I want to show her, “Here,
darling, here is where the arms go.”
But instead I say, “The green lines
look strong. And her smile
makes me smile.” I kiss her,
and tell her thank you,
and she squeezes me, her two small
arms so strong, I notice, even when
they let me go.
C’mon mom, he says,
let’s find another,
and for an hour
we scour the slot canyon walls
for another lizard to chase.
I point out two here
on the blonde rock.
One here on the red shelf.
I can’t help but hope
I don’t have to hope
The boy is clumsy
with his two legs,
his lack of tail.
The lizards evolved
in this vertical world.
They scale the walls or find
the smallest cracks
where even tiny fingers
How many things
have I chased
for the pleasure
of chasing? Some strange
joy in the unattaining of things.
And how many things
have I caught
and reveled in the catching
and soonly forgot.
Finn wedges himself
in the chimney of rock
and reaches for the tail
that slips beyond his hands.
The sky, has it ever been
this blue? I let it catch me
here between the mormon tea
and the warm, red sand.
The Chinese believe
in a thin red thread
that connects everyone
to everyone else
they are destined to meet.
I don’t know that I
believe in the thread,
but I do believe in luck.
Red luck, green luck,
transparent luck. But
if there is a thread
that I followed to you,
I hope we are now
twined and tethered,
no chance of losing
each other. I know,
I know, I’m supposed
to let go, to release,
set free, liberate.
But is it so wrong
for me to let go
and at the same time
pray that the red thread
I don’t believe in
will never break?
Sometimes a person’s name
becomes so heavy around her neck
that the gravity of it pulls her down,
down into the snow drift, so far down,
syllables wrapped around buried stones,
that she cleaves it from her, expecting
blood, but there is only a sweet
emptiness where the name once was.
Such levity, she nearly floats above
the white bank. But you know what
happens to an empty space. Don’t
tell her. She is talking with the birds now,
and the sky. And the space
behind the sky.
So much grace available, but how we receive it depends on what we can let go of.
Inside the place where we are right, the rain
can never fall. Inside the place where we
are right, the leaves fall yellowed off the trees.
No breeze. No bells. No peaches. We explain.
We judge, contend, defend and claim, maintain
our certainty. And meanwhile, we don’t see
the lilacs wilting, grasses browning, bees
without their hives, lost crows, the sunset drained.
But sometimes in this shrinking cage of right
wings in a doubt. A question. Nothing’s clear.
And see how soon the crows return, a slight
of breeze, a scent of rain. I’ll meet you here,
this open place, exposed, unclosed. How light
spills in as our defenses disappear.
All objects in existence are wildly in love.
Always, they claw at the world.
They can’t help it. They were given
two pincers and hard, hard shells.
They ripen into harder shells,
their clasp become more powerful.
They hurt more the larger they are.
This does not look to me like love.
I think of Eckhart’s saying as I stand beside the pond.
But my boy, he holds them in his open palm,
lets them pinch his thumb, his eyes
widen in pain, and he gently extracts them,
throws them back. And does it again.
This, now this looks like love, I think,
watching the water for the skitter,
the settling, the mirror of the pond as it stills.