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for Sherry Richert Belul

 

 

With a LOVE stamp, the woman I’ve never met

mailed me five dollars, “to be a reminder

that abundance can come unexpectedly,”

 

she wrote, and sitting with her letter in my lap,

I thought of last night’s snow—

five white inches that fell after midnight

 

and softened the whole hard world.

And I thought of the orchid on my mantle

that sprouted a new stem of purple buds

 

even as the other stem continued to bloom.

And I thought of my office mate bringing in

nine tins of exotic teas to share. And my daughter

 

sending me a text to say she loved me “soooo much.”

And I thought of a woman in a town a thousand

miles away, a woman I have never met,

 

who thought, “I think I’ll send five dollars

to someone who brought abundance into my life.”

How simple it is to manifest unforeseen joy.

 

How clear the invitation to extend gratitude,

to spread good will, to remind each other

how the world will offer itself, will open

 

and open and open, how we, ourselves,

are the agents of the world.

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like Merino wool, with its fine hairs,

its fibers short, useless alone,

 

that is all of us, easily broken,

weak, unable to do much,

 

but those single hairs, when rolled

together and twisted into thread

 

become not only strong,

not only useful, but beautiful.

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strange, the light disappearing

stranger still to realize

we are the ones in the way

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snow so deep, so soft

even the me who thinks she’s not good enough

laughs, whoops, falls, rises

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Hi friends,

 

This week I did an interview with Elissa Dickson and Telluride TV on poeming, how I came to Telluride, what a poem does, and a recitation of the title poem from my newest book, Naked for Tea.

Just 10 minutes … I hope you enjoy!

Telluride TV Interview

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Sumatra

 

 

I want to serve you Sumatra,

the wild, mossy, mushroomy

dark of it. I want to serve you

 

the muted black song in a white cup,

so you can, if you listen closely,

hear the birds of Southeast Asia

 

with their foreign calls,

hear the farmer as he hums

while he picks the coffee cherry,

 

as he removes its dark red skin.

I want to serve you the scent of moss,

so strong you find yourself laying in it,

 

staring up at the sky through

the canopy, laying there for hours

forgetting anything else to do.

 

Will you find there, too,

the hint of old leather, a favorite

belt, a favorite shoe, something

 

familiar to slip into? Dark in the cup,

dark like midnight, dark like two a.m., dark

like the silence that finds the world then.

 

Dark in the cup, like fathomless space

where a small voice whispers, stay awake.

And there, in the cup, the gift of a place

 

where we have never been, but

together, perhaps, we could sip the Sumatra

and visit again and again.

 

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Wild and Precious

 

—for Mary Oliver, January 17, 2019

 

 

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

—Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

 

 

And when she said, “you don’t have to be good,”

my whole body became wild goose

as the truth of her lines winged through.

 

And when she asked, “what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?”

I walked outside and heard the low river.

 

And when she suggested we live

as “a bride married to amazement,”

I made my vows to life.

 

On the day that she died, the winter

was too warm for snow, and the rain

gave luster to every sullen thing.

 

In me, a storm threatened to rise,

but the only words that would find my lips

were thank you, thank you, thank you.

 

 

 

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I am afraid of the darkness and the hole in it.

            —Martin Luther, “Luther”

 

 

And when Martin Luther was struck with plague

in 1527, he refused to leave the city, though he trembled,

though he burned. He felt it was the devil’s assault

sent to reduce him with despair. And reduced, he was.

There is darkness so great we lose all sense of direction,

forget even which way is in. There is darkness

so great that even the holes in the darkness are terrible,

cannot be seen as light. And in that terrible August,

the Reformer argued with God. And all that terrible August,

Luther trusted God’s promises. And he told himself,

Pray. Read. Sing. And the darkness endured.

Sometimes, Luther found, there are darknesses

so great we forget how to sing ourselves. Sometimes,

the only way through darkness, through doubt,

is to teach other people to sing.

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In

 

 

Between the morning and the noon,

between the never and the soon,

between invisible and seen,

between the waking and the dream

I’ll meet you there, amidst the mists,

and walk in different worlds at once—

both here and there, both then and now—

I’ll meet you in this space somehow

and there between confined and free

we’ll find what’s between you and me.

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surrounded by the most

lovely silence

the crow

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