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Posts Tagged ‘acceptance’

When It Comes to Ideas

 

 

 

I am perhaps like the mama sheep

who rejects the lamb that is not her own—

snorts at it, won’t let it suckle,

shoves it away with her nose.

Though her own lamb was born lifeless,

though her teats are full to leaking,

she will have nothing to do with the alien.

It’s not the lamb’s fault it has the wrong scent,

just as it’s not the idea’s fault it was born

in another’s mind. It’s likely a good idea,

just needing a bit of nourishment.

 

But there are skilled herders who know the art

of grafting, who make of the dead lamb’s skin

a jacket and wrap it around the alien lamb,

tricking the ewe into taking it on as her own.

Then it’s a matter of bonding.

 

Don’t think I didn’t see you as you stripped the skin.

Don’t think I’m unaware of what you’ve done.

The truth is, I wanted to foster it, to claim it

as my own, to see it frolic in these fields of sage.

I was made for nurturing. It’s just that loss is difficult.

It’s just that sometimes it’s hard to say yes.

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Apparently no one told the tickle in my throat

that this was a silent retreat.

All it wanted to do was explore the sound

of throat clearing, the sound of cough.

 

All around me the sound of nothing

but breathing and sitting, but in me,

this tickle saying Notice me, Notice me.

Here I am and what will you do about it?

I told the tickle, If I were freeclimbing,

I would ignore you. My life would depend on it.

 

The tickle said, but you’re here,

here in a quiet room, and your life is at stake

in a much different way. What are you willing

to notice? What do you wish away?

Isn’t this just one more way you tell yourself

life would be better if it were different?

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Think of the frost that will crack our bones eventually

            —Tom Hennen, “Love for Other Things”

 

 

Before I can love you, I hate you.

Because the frothy pink of the milkweed

and the monarch who travels thousands of miles

just to feed there. Because the dark leaves

of soybeans, millions of green hearts

per acre. Because ripe blueberries

without a hint of pucker. Because

of the touch of the man who loves me.

Because the cool breeze on my bare arms.

 

But to love is to open the circle

of what is beloved, to offer my attention

to the concert of crickets and crows,

to the proliferation of box elder beetles,

the weeds that infiltrate the field. Sound

of lawn mowers, jackhammers, swarm

of mosquitoes. Stench of Sulphur. Deep

snows that bury the drive.

 

And love says why stop there? Widen

the circle to toxic sludge. Yellow jackets.

Earwigs. Freezing sideways sleet. Men

with guns and hate in their stare. Girls

who spit disdain. And the pain

that steals sleep. And the pain

that never leaves. And the pain

that would obliterate every bright thing,

 

and in so doing, reveal what is most precious—

this ability to love. To love despite.

To love regardless. To love. To love

what I hate, even you, frost that will crack

my bones. Will you not be my final teacher

in how to offer my attention? Will you

not be my last great love?

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Love Lessons

 

 

When the favorite sweater

becomes threadbare at the wrists

and already you’ve mended it

repeatedly: when you find yourself sewing

on top of your sewing and there

is little left of original thread,

is this when you decide

that the sweater is better worn

with holes, that not everything

needs fixing, that sometimes

what is most loved is what

is most beyond repair?

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One Agreement

 

 

wondering again

why did it happen—because

says the world, it did happen

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Yesterday I found a bird on the ground outside the window. Remember how I had told you about the two pairs of Bullock’s Orioles at our feeder? It was one of the females. I was too squeamish to pick her up with my bare hands. Someone at some time told me about the bacteria on birds, and like so many other stories, I let it define my actions even though I don’t know that it’s true.

 

I did pick it up, however, fashioned a little stretcher out of cottonwood sticks and carried the bird to the deep grass.

 

Though it was at the feeder the day before, already it was gone enough to have lost its eyes, now two little sunken spaces where the head pulled in on itself. But the small body was not yet rigid, and it hung, limp, over the sticks.

 

I sang a death song, as I always do, sometimes out loud, sometimes in my head. It was taught to me by Art. “Nothing lives long, nothing lives long, nothing lives long, not even the mountain.”

 

I remember the day Art changed the lyric. For many years, he had sung the final phrase, “nothing lives long but the earth and the mountain.” Perhaps like all things

that are new, it trembled something me. The old words were so comfortable and familiar in my ears, my mouth. I suspect the real reason they shook me was the truth of them. Nothing lives long. Not even the mountain.

 

How small we are. Sometimes, like yesterday, I let my sadnesses and worries become so big, much bigger than my body. I can’t contain them and they spill. It was beautiful to watch how, on that flood of my sorrow, you found a boat and sat in it and showed me it was possible.

 

Why did I think the deep grass was a better place for the body of the bird? I didn’t question the voice that told me to take her there. Perhaps we are all heading into the unkempt field, a place where we are open and hidden at the same time.

 

I watched the other three birds all day as they flew from feeder to cottonwood. They were a braid of song, seldom staying in one place for long.

 

Nothing lives long. It’s no revelation, but sometimes an old truth finds wings in us. And so it was when you told me yesterday, just before you drove away, that I needed to stop hoping things would change—that I needed to decide if I could be happy with things just as they are. Only minutes later I found the bird. Though the two events didn’t seem connected at the moment, now they are like two drops that become one water.

 

And so this morning, I join you in the boat. Although it is just a metaphor, I notice that it changes things not to be swimming in the waters of wishing things were different. I notice how there are no oars in the boat, and how part of me longs for control and part of me has already found the freedom to stare at the sky.

 

And there they are, the three orioles, their yellow feathers flashing as they rearrange the air. And there she isn’t, the oriole now laying in the field.

 

Later today I will fill the feeder. There are some things we can do.

 

 

Your friend,

Rosemerry

 

 

 

 

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unable to hold things together

I open my hands, let everything drop

and feel how the world holds me

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Standing on the stoop of your heart,

hand poised above the doorbell,

hoping you’ll open the door,

hoping you’ll keep it open.

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Crossing the Line

 

 

 

Mi casa es su casa.

My arms are your arms.

My lips are your lips.

My ripeness, yours. My triceps,

yours. My hunger, my nipples,

my skin, my swollen pinks

are yours, yours. And why stop there?

My dry elbows, your elbows.

My bunions, your bunions.

My cyst, your cyst. What part

of me would you rather not love?

Could you miss it? Tell me you will also take

my thinning skin, my widening hips,

my wrinkled cheek, my cracked heel.

If my fear is your fear; my ugly,

your ugly; my broken, your broken;

my shame, your shame, then kiss me

there. Again. Please? Kiss me there.

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I wanted to be more like you,

I did. I wanted to fit in

your hummingbird world

with its hummingbird nests

and its delicate wings and

its predisposition toward

delicate things, such as

tea cups and flowers

and gossamer strings.

So I painted my body

with delicate swirls

and colorful, whimsical

intricate whorls, and I tried

to fit my whole self inside

your dainty settings,

I tried, I tried to be more

like you, but there is no hiding

these giant gray legs and

this massive gray trunk

and these floppy gray ears.

It’s obvious. I am an elephant,

dear, and I just can’t squeeze into

this fragile world.

I belong home

in the elephant herd.

And I’m sorry I broke your fine

china cups. It’s so evident now

I can’t fit in them, but …

well, sometimes we need

to fail to learn. We need to digress

before we return.

I still think you’re lovely,

though slightly absurd,

oh beautiful, delicate,

bright hummingbirds.

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