A Blessing

In the dream, you are ten
and your slender body
curls into my side. We
lie on a purple bed.
Our awareness wings
at the edge of sleep,
our bodies more stone
than bird, your head
on my arm as heavy as time,
and I think, I love this
sweet sapling boy.
In the dream, you are alive,
and I sink all the way
into the sweetness
of the moment
the way I sometimes don’t
in life. I sink full weight
into the tender present
and no part of me wishes
to be anywhere but
in the low golden dream light,
your body warm and gentled,
my body quiet and easy.
Two days later,
I feel it still, the heft of love
unending and generous
close against my side.
It invites me to be more here
with the ones I am with.
With that same arm that held you,
I hold them. Time lifts.

When we show up every day with poems, it changes the way we see the world. That’s the premise for “The Poetic Path,” a new daily audio poetry program I am hosting. It’s available on your phone using the Ritual app.

Since last October, I’ve been talking with the good folks at Ritual, a fabulous app of wellbeing practices led by compassionate leaders in self-care, faith, and culture. Guides include New York Times best-selling authors, Olympic gold medalists, and renowned self-care experts (Alex Elle, Parker Palmer, Simone Manuel, Sharon Salzberg)–and now me!

As you  know, friends, I’ve been writing a poem every day for over 15 years, and this practice has changed everything about how I live my life. I’ll bring that experience to the daily segments–they run around 6 minutes each. Every day on Ritual, I will read a poem I have written (not the same one from the daily blog), talk about where it came from, read it again, then offer optional ideas for conversation, thinking or your own writing. The whole idea is simply to show up and listen. That’s it. From my experience, daily engagement with poems changes how we meet our day, how we frame our choices, and how we engage with others in our lives. Poems make us laugh. They punch us in the gut. They make us cry. And help us embrace paradox.

I hope you’ll join me on The Poetic Path, and start meeting the same world in a new way.

To sign up for Ritual and listen daily to The Poetic Path, using your phone, visit here.

While Doing Laundry

this wrinkled yellow candy wrapper
found in the pocket
of your old blue coat

suddenly precious
because once you touched it

Two Days Before Spring

Without knowing it this morning,
I woke to the day
the bluebirds returned.
Every morning it is like this—
the chance to rise into a day
of unexpected blessings.
All afternoon the bluebirds weave
through the field, perch on the roof,
bob in the grass.
I marvel at how easily
beauty slips in to help me
fall in love with not knowing.
All day I feel lucky,
like a woman given
a truth so precious
not because she deserved it
but because she woke up
and met the day.

On Language

You, language, that rises
out of quiet air, from where?
How syllable? How syntax?
From whence come gifts
of fricative and nasal,
glide and vowel? From where
these translations of mood
into ooo and thhhh
and mmmmm and ah?
Sweet miracle, language,
the kindness of phonemes
the sweet generosity
of grammar—glorious
as a cherry tree in spring—
that teaches us to say
I am, you are, we have been,
we will be, we are going
to be, we might, we are;
all those truths spilling
from our mouths
that escape the known
like petals that form,
then flutter away
from the bough
into silence.

The Great Reframe

Let this sorrow
that has opened me
to love
be like a frame
that has no photo—
so I might know
how to be this broken open,
this tender, this compassionate
with anything,
not only toward the one
who first filled the frame.
Let me not try to control
what is worthy of framing.
Let me trust everything
is worthy of prayer,
of consideration.
Let sorrow continue
to teach me generosity.
Let the frame be big enough
to hold it all.

While I Sit Quietly

The child inside me is spinning. She
loves the way her skirt rises
as she twirls. She knows nothing
of the Coriolis force
that acts on objects
in motion. She knows only
that she is in motion. She knows
her skirt rises higher and whirls more
the faster she goes, and she
likes it, the way it ripples
and flows, how it swirls around
her legs in a happy yellow
froth. She likes it so much
that she spins and spins
until she is dizzy and
stumbling, spins ’til she drops
in a laughing yellow heap on
the floor. She loves her new
discovery. She is eager and
silly, alive in her body. She jumps up
and spins again. And what of the woman
with graying hair, the woman
sitting quietly in the soft green
chair. She appears still, but
what no one can see—on
the inside she spins like
a dervish, a hypnotic whirling
born of grief that helps her meet
the illusion of separation, she
spins like the earth itself is spinning, spins
while her center stays still, and
what rises is peace, flaring
around her in long white waves
and she doesn’t lose her balance, and
the laughter of fifty years ago escapes
through her lips and
ripples, amazed, through
the silence.

featuring Kayleen Asbo on piano, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer poetry and the art of Vincent van Gogh

Friday, March 31
10 a.m.-noon PDT; 11 a.m.-1 p.m. MDT, 1 a.m.-3 p.m. EDT

Last year, the incredible composer and cultural historian Kayleen Asbo completed an astonishing suite of piano pieces inspired by the work and life of Vincent van Gogh. Rosemerry worked from her pieces and the art to create a body of poems that weave the paintings, the music, van Gogh’s life, and Rosemerry’s own story of losing a loved one to death at his own hand. The works were performed live last November in Petaluma, CA, and we will be sharing the video of that collaboration in this online salon of love and memory on the anniversary of Vincent Van Gogh’s birth. We will close with a heartfelt communal ritual of creativity.

“I don’t know what to call this because I’ve never experienced anything like this before. What I do know is that this is one of the most beautiful, healing and heart-opening experiences I’ve ever had. In my entire life. “

-Audience Member from the summer productionTickets available on a sliding scale donation. The program will be recorded for later viewing.

To register visit here.

Healing the Heart

Perhaps I once thought I knew
what it meant to heal—to be good as new,
to be stitched back together, unbruised,
unblemished, in no pain, repaired.
But what is healing to the heart
when it has lost a beloved?
Surely not to forget the loss happened
the way the lungs forget bronchitis.
Surely not to stop the ache
the way bones reknit and forget
the break. Surely not to shun sadness,
when sadness is the only thing
that makes sense.
Is it strange that deeply broken
is the only way now I feel whole?

Growing Orbits

after Rainer Maria Rilke, “I Live My Life in Growing Orbits”

I am circling what is true,
with my arms open I am circling,
with eyes wide I am circling,
I am circling that which has never changed
and that which is always changing.
I circle with eyes full of tears, I circle
as I sing along with voice breaking,
lips praising, I circle with chest
expanding, feet eager, my body
exhausted, my whole being charged,
and the only words on my lips are thank you.
I am circling with the certainty
I can only do this right. I circle
the spaces I’ve circled before
only nothing is the same. I circle
the nothing at the center and the everything
which has come from it. With every step,
I see something new, something
I could not have seen before. With every step
I understand and lose my understanding.
I am circling all that can never be known
and all I long to know. I am circling
in quickening spirals and in lazy
orbits and I circle for the joy
of circling. I am circling you, God,
as Rilke invited me to do, and
still I am learning who you are,
so I circle and I circle and I circle.

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