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I listen for the hidden wholeness, wisdom, and grace.

            —Wayne Muller

 

 

I’ve forgotten how to listen

for the hidden wholeness—

trained by the ring of the phone

and the morning alarm and

the unheard bells of the day

that say “go, go, go.”

I’ve forgotten how to be still.

To empty. To unexpect.

 

Today, though it is May,

the green world is covered

by snow. It’s one way the world

learns to unknow itself.

 

My teacher reminds me

how the deepest healing

can only take place in the quiet,

the still, the great awake.

 

I know she is right, but

it is the kind of knowing

that is too certain of itself.

 

As I walk, I open my hands

to let the snow land there.

I watch the flakes melt.

For a moment, I almost think

I can hear them. For a moment,

I forget who is doing the listening.

 

 

 

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Darling, they’ve redefined the kilogram.

Once it was a thing. A real thing:

a platinum-iridium cylinder

weighing 2.2 pounds. A thing they kept

in France in a high-security vault. A thing

they could compare to other such weights

kept in vaults all around the world.

As if to lock a thing up is to keep it

from changing. Forever.

 

Now we know better.

Every thing changes. It’s the nature

of things. Even prototypes lose atoms,

no matter how sterile the room

in which they’re kept.

The loss may be only the weight

of a single eyelash that no longer

bats itself at time.

Over time, it matters.

 

Now, understanding the volatile nature of things,

they’ve made the kilogram an idea—

a simple truth—by tying its definition

to Planck’s constant. How the world loves

a constant.

 

Darling, know that I am a thing.

I have wanted to be constant,

unwavering, true, but I lose things.

I gain things. I change innumerable

times a day. I am never the same woman

as I was yesterday. Each time we speak,

I swell, I leak. I will always love you

not the same. There is more at work than gravity.

It’s the way the heart is made.

 

I want to make you promises.

Like constancy. Like forever.

I promise that I’ll change.

Like the old kilogram. Like weather.

 

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/13/world/kilo-measurement-scli-intl/index.html

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Once I would say “table,” and mean

“table.” Once, I would say

“broccoli” and mean “broccoli.”

I would say “stone” and mean

“stone.” I really did believe

that things were separate.

And nameable. Now,

every word that comes

out of my mouth, no matter

how many syllables, no matter

the tone of voice, no matter

my intention, I’ve come to understand

that every word

is really just a translation

for thank you,

thank you for this moment.

And every silence between the words,

regardless how brief,

is really just the sound

of one hand in gratitude clapping.

 

 

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One Devotion

 

 

finding in me

the place where honey

is stored

almost empty

still offering it to you

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Again the rain,

and I wander

the tender green grass

of the field.

The hands pull weeds

because the hands

want something to do.

And the mind looks

for morels, because the mind

wants something to do.

And the feet wander,

because they are born

nomads. And the heart

opens. Not because

it wants to, but

because there is something

in the scent of rain

that suggests

so much is possible,

even, against all odds,

beauty. Even, though

it seems impossible,

another day.

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What do a poet and a science writer have in common? A podcast on creative process! And in this episode of Emerging Form, Christie Aschwanden and I discuss collaborations–what makes them work, how they go sour, and what to do then! We also discuss whether collaborations need leaders, wemerging formhy listening is an essential skill for working with other creatives, Chinese food, the Jabberwocky, and how spontaneity can enhance a creative collaboration. And then we’ll wrap up our conversation by talking with musician/songwriter/video producer Christine Laskowski who will play our game of two questions. We’ll ask her 1) What makes a good collaboration? And 2) How do you deal with conflicts when they arise in a collaboration? You can weigh in on these questions yourself, either on our website or on our Facebook page. You can find Emerging Form wherever you find podcasts, or on our webpage here.

 

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weeping beside

the pussy willows—

all those tears

over saying goodbye,

I wouldn’t uncry

a single one

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goldfinch stealing

into the thorn bush—

oh heart, bless you

for being willing, please

don’t follow him in

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Why do we have to do this,

asks my daughter, hoe in hand,

and I, hoe in hand, reply

that it’s good for the soil

and helps it to breathe.

 

I think about how my own thoughts

crust over, how quickly

they become impenetrable.

 

And then hoe of loss. Hoe of hope.

Hoe of disbelief. Hoe of shock.

 

Again and again,

the world breaks me open,

allows the new to come in.

 

Again and again, I resist

the change. And then marvel

at how essential it is,

the new ideas so green,

so persistent, tender as

a girl asking why.

 

 

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A mallard swims

in the beaver pond,

the sunlight makes

green praise of its head

 

and for an instant

the whole world

revolves around

emerald sheen.

 

There is little else

that’s green here,

though it is late spring—

but over 10,000 feet

 

the snow tends to linger.

This is a place where

the mind doesn’t hesitate

to offer its attention

 

to the sharp scent of trees,

to the snaking trickle of snowmelt,

to the thrill of cold air

in the lungs. And in giving

 

itself away, the mind

becomes clearer, becomes

a shining and natural thing,

like a mallard wing, like

 

a tree just before leafing,

like a canyon in which

the lush green world

is just about to emerge.

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