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Darn Lucky

 

 

 

It happens, you know—the day opens itself

like a tulip in a warm room, and you meet someone

who amazes you with their willingness

to be a thousand percent alive, someone

who makes you feel grateful to be you.

 

And it’s as if life has been keeping a beautiful

secret from you—like the fact that they make

elderberry flowers into wine. Like muscadine.

Like the yellow-green floral scent of quince.

Like the perfect knot for tying your shoes.

 

And it turns out life does have wonderful

secrets waiting for you. Even when the news

makes you cry. Even when some old pain returns,

that’s when you will meet this new friend.

Someone wholly themselves. Someone

 

who makes you smile in the kitchen, a smile so real

that when you go out, the whole world notices.

It’s enough to make you want to wake up in the morning.

To go into the day. To be unguarded as a tulip, petals

falling open. You never know who you might meet.

 

 

red sky at night

I am thrilled to be selected as the winner of this year’s Halcyon Poetry Prize, which means that my new collection, Hush, will be published by the wonderful Middle Creek Press, perhaps as early as this spring. The contest advertised for “literature of human ecology, eco-poetry, nature-poetry, spiritual rather than religious, works based in our humanity, conscious, mindful, deep. We look for works which show connection between people and nature, people and people, people and their stories, dreams, and sacred moments, whether wild or domestic.” It’s a quiet book–a book deeply steeped in nature. And Craig Childs, adventurer and writer, is writing the introduction.  Oh! I’ll keep you in touch!

 

 

I want to be quiet enough

to absorb the shouting,

still enough to subsume

the uproar, silent enough

to diminish the din. I want

to calm not just the air

but the hurt that drives

the shouts, calm the hurt

that drives the hurt.

Like bringing an ocean

to put out a candle—that’s

how bizarrely effective

I want this quiet to be—

the kind of quiet that touches

everything, tenderly,

like Persian perfume, and

invites it to feel how sweet

the communion of silence.

I want to know quiet

like a fine silken blanket

big enough to cover us all. Quiet,

like a bottle of wine that no matter

how much we pour and share

we find it miraculously always full.

Unresolved

 

 

 

The hero in me

wants only a happy ending,

but tonight at the concert

every song I loved best

ended in a minor key

that lingered in the air

like a half formed rainbow,

like the scent of soil

after a punishing rain.

 

How do I teach that hero

to love the dissonance,

to settle into the discord

to shed her raincoat

and stand in the mess

and say ahhhhh?

 

 

Big

 

 

This is, perhaps, the year to learn to be big.

Spruce tree big. Cliffside big. Big as mesa,

as mountain lake. Big as in cosmos, as in love.

Being small has never served me—constricting,

contorting, trying to fit into a room, into shoes,

into a name. Let this be the year to escape all those little

rules with those little shoulds, all those little

cages with their little locks. Time to make of myself

a key, time to lean into immensity. Time to supersize

communion, time to grow beyond self. Time to

open, to unwall, to do as the universe does,

accelerating as it expands, not rushing toward

something else, but changing the scale of space itself.

 

 

 

I am thrilled to have a poem again on Gratefulness.org, a site devoted to generosity of spirit and gratitude. This poem explores how gratitude brings us into wholeness and connection:

Translation

 

 

Taking Down the Tree

 

 

the room so bare

where just hours ago

there was light—

 

remembering now

how to celebrate emptiness

Resolution

 

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.

—T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”

 

 

So let me speak this year in leaf,

and let me speak in stem.

Give me photosynthetic nouns

and algal interjections.

Let my syntax be made of phloem,

let my phonemes be blades of grass.

May all my conjunctions produce oxygen

may my prepositions be moss.

And let me mostly listen

with ears attuned to soil and root

And when I have words, let them be living,

may only the kindest words bear fruit.

 

 

 

 

 

One Old Lang Syne

 

 

midnight comes—

a sweet quiet fills the house

wherever you hear it, we share it

 

Too Close to the Light

 

 

Just for a moment

my hair was on fire

and just for a moment

orange flames

rose from me

and just for a moment

I knew what it was

to be candle—

even now I can see it

beside my face,

how before I was afraid

I thought, how beautiful.

 

 

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