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When at last I feel solid again,
along come the mysterious tools
that carve in me
a new spaciousness.
Such painful excavation,
and yet somehow
inside this human shape,
I contain a grand canyon
deep enough for high risk;
a wrestling arena vast enough
for wings of angels
and storming demons of doubt;
and an entire concert hall
with acoustics so fine
that when the smallest voice
in me sits on stage and whispers
you can do it,
I can hear it clearly,
even in the cheap seats,
and though the song is tiny,
it’s so resonant
I sing along.
 

 
 
I am all too aware of that permanent track
with its strict rails of duty and ties of to do,
how it structures my days
in inflexible ways, allows the engine
of time to move only on pre-regulated paths.
 
I would love to lose those tracks of time,
veer off the underlying subgrade
and stroll on foot through the fields of hours
and lay in the lazy tall grass of warm days.
 
Or so I say. And yet I commit
to new rails, new track that I pound in
with the iron spikes of yes,
like a pioneer hellbent on progress.
 
No. I did not lose track of time,
but perhaps I lost track of me.
Perhaps I lost track of you.
Perhaps it is not too late.
 
 
 
 
 

In Orbit


 
 
Count the one beautiful blue and green planet.
Count it again.
Say “home,” then marvel at the taste of tears.
Notice how no borders matter from here.
Remember how important they feel
when standing on a border. Once
you dreamt of being alone. Of being
far away from parking lots and grocery store lines
and men with guns and violent conviction.
Now you dream of touching someone else,
of breathing in the scent of garden dirt,
of hearing a voice without static, of lying down
in a bed, held by your own sweet gravity.
What you would do to taste a tree-ripened peach.
Give up on counting stars. Draw lines between them,
creating your own constellations:
The open hand. The river gorge. The crooked evergreen.
A semi-automatic rifle, which you re-constellate
into a small bouquet of lilies. Consider forgiveness.
Wonder how long it will take before it feels authentic.
Circling has taught you how things come around.
Remember? There was a time you didn’t think
you knew how to pray.
 


 
 
I try not to take it personally.
The country is not for everyone—
lazy stream and open field
and airy glades of cottonwood.
I walk out in the dead grass
and realize how much I love
the dead grass. How much
I love the red stained willows,
bright squawk of jay and scent of mud
and lack of pavement, lack of horns,
lack of benches and stores and street lamps.
I prefer the bustle of birds at the feeder
to any human throng.
 
It isn’t wrong for him to love something else,
the heart loves what it loves,
though I long to defend the smooth flat stones,
the hawk that even now circles the field,
the mice making arteries through snow.
I wish he were happy here, says the heart,
unable to reconcile the rift.
Across the river, snow sifts in thin white wisps,
escapes through dark red cliffs.
 

Belonging


 
 
Forgive me, please, when I,
thrilling in how much I love you,
believe you belong to me—
like a book or shirt or a ring.
 
Writing that short list,
it now seems strange
I believe I own anything.
I know well the unstitching of loss.
 
Let me learn to love you loosely
the way I love morning,
the way I love song,
the way I love hawks on the wing.
 
Let me love you the way
I love poems, startled
and grateful each time I find
it is I who belongs to them. 




It was the strangest thing.
She’d never cared before about winning.
Life had been about basking in the sun
at the entrance to her burrow.
Sometimes when she was warm enough,
she’d plod off in search of leaves.

Now, she thought about finish lines.
The feel of the ribbon on her prehistoric nose.
The roar of the crowd as she crossed.
They say tortoises don’t have feelings,
no hippocampus in their small brains,
but she’d felt it, the thrill of success.

She spent decades looking for another race
she had a chance to win. None of her friends
could understand. Come dig in the sandy soil,
they said, but it wasn’t enough anymore.
She wished she’d never said yes to that race.
She wished she could race the hare again tonight.

She wished she could stop defining her life
by that one moment. Wished she could stop wishing
for any life beyond the life she had now,
sleeping in her burrow, cool and moist.
Wished all she wanted were soft weeds and long-leaf pines.
Wished she could hear that crowd just one more time.

This Difficult Day

Today the prayer is words
I can’t yet find,

words that flit away
like spring juncos, like chickadees.

Today the prayer I wish for
is not the prayer that finds me—

less like the perfume of a fully bloomed flower
more like the dank and fusty scent of spring.

Some days when I forget how to pray,
if I listen with my whole body,

the world reminds me how what is used up, spent
is also a vessel for the holy,

as dry leaves become a nest
as bare branches hold the sunrise.

Seduced by the Present: The Poetic Art of Showing Up

I hope you will join me on Thursday, 5-6 Mountain Time, for a program I’ll lead for One Spirit Learning Alliance, a fabulous interfaith and interspiritual education organization located in New York. The zoom program has a suggested donation of $10, but you can also come for free if that is too much right now. 

I’ll be sharing poems and talking about the transformative practice of writing poems, how it helps us fall more deeply in love with the world and connects us to each other, to the natural world, to the divine and to ourselves. 

For more information, click here.

Here is what the organization’s founder and spiritual director, Rev. Diane Berke, wrote about the program:

“Since the lockdown began in March 2020, I learned that immersing myself in beauty – through music, dance, visual imagery, and poetry – was like oxygen for my soul.

One of the true blessings of that time for me was discovering that one of my favorite poets, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, had an ongoing practice of writing one poem a day and that through her blog, ahundredfallingveils.com, she shared a poem daily with her readers. Every morning since then, I have started my day with one of Rosemerry’s poems and journeyed with her through the whole gamut of human experience – laughter, tears, discouragement, love, inspiration, gratitude, fear, and being nurtured and taught by this beautiful earth. I also began sharing Rosemerry’s poems with the One Spirit office staff in our weekly virtual meetings, and the staff quickly fell in love with her, her poetic sensibilities, her insight and wisdom, her humor and vulnerability and authenticity.

After sharing her poems in several of our Gatherings, I realized what a gift it would be to share her with the whole One Spirit community … and I’m thrilled that she will be joining us for our Gathering on Thursday, March 25th!!! (BTW, our entire office staff is over the moon excited to get to meet her in virtual person!)

Our theme for the evening will be Seduced by the Present: The Poetic Art of Showing Up, and Rosemerry will share poems and stories about the transformative impact of her daily writing practice and invite us to explore how poetry and writing can become open invitations to explore our relationships with ourselves, the earth, each other, and the divine.

I feel blessed to be able to share with my community this beautiful artist whose work has been such a blessing to me. I hope you will join us for an evening of deep soul nourishment.

Blessings and love,

Diane signature.png

One Dream Job


            for Kayleen
 
 
rolling up my sleeves
in this grand beauty parlor—
help wanted




Not by writing another poem
about how much you miss them.
No matter how many red-wing blackbirds
you put in it, the poem itself won’t trill.
No matter how many elephants
clomp through the stanzas,
the poem won’t make the earth tremble.
No matter your skill with language
even the ripest metaphoric blood oranges
cannot quench a very real thirst.
Pick up the phone. Press the button.
Call the one you miss.

I know, I skipped the hours
where you worry about how much time
has passed, how every silent day
becomes another thick brick
in a taciturn wall between you.
Perhaps you’ve started to believe it’s impassable.
But a call is like a wrecking ball.
One sincere hello knocks down even a thousand
days of separation with just two syllables.

What happens next will only happen next
if you clear a space for reunion,
if you pick up the phone.

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