Posts Tagged ‘aliveness’

There’s a moment when I’m touched
by the sky inside the sky, the song
inside the song, the apple inside the apple.
It’s as if each bit of the world is itself,
only more so, and it reaches in
to trace the scaffolding of my life,
charging me with its utter purity,
its incontestable presence, as if to say
This, this is what it is to be alive,
and I hum with it, pulse with it,
glow with the wonder of it—
Rain. Rhubarb. Sand. Blood.
This. This. This. This.
This. This. This.

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Sometimes there is inside me
a space so great
my body takes itself outside—
as if the house is too restricting,
as if this inner space
must be met by something vast as field,
boundless as sky, immeasurable as interstellar space.
If it is storming, so much the better.
If rain races down the face
and saturates the clothes, this is right.
If wind rips at my hair
or snow stings my cheeks
or lightning makes my hairs stand on end,
it only serves the aliveness.
If it is warm and still,
the inner space expands
into the warm and still.
There are feelings too immense for four walls,
too intense to be trapped in the skin,
sensations that rhyme with the cosmos,
moments when we start to grasp
what we are made of—
more energy than matter,
more nothing than something,
more everything than we ever dreamed.

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After skate skiing on groomed track for months,
following only the preset path, today
I wake early enough to ski on the hardened crust
of spring morning snow. Suddenly,
the whole valley is a playground. And
it’s freedom. Freedom to move in any
direction. Freedom to loop or climb or follow
the river. Freedom that seeps into breath, into smile,
into my understanding of what it means to be alive.
And the whole time I skate and pole
and propel myself over snow
I hear an inner refrain from Romans:
And death shall have no dominion.
Not a still small voice, but a resonant boom.
And I, so alive in this sweet slip of time,
know that though my son has died
and my father has died, here I am,
carrying their love, and alive. Alive!
Alive through the winter.
Alive though I grieve. Alive. Alive as I skate
through willows and aspen and wide open white.
Lungs burning, legs striding, heart beating
hard in my chest. I know myself as breath
and return to the wholeness that never left.
Skating across the frozen world, the sparkling crust,
I live into this life that so wants to be lived,
this life that asks everything, everything of us.

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Whatever It Means

Certain I can’t carry

another sadness,

I step outside

and let the shine

of the mid-morning sun

stroke my cheek

like a lover.

And the air has a strange

bright citrus tang,

and I inhale it

again and again.

Whatever it means

to be alive,

it has something

to do with this—

the scent of leaf

and soil and shadow.

The astonishing warmth

of a late October day.

The weight

of loving another,

that weight

without which

I would be nothing.

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Some mornings, for no reason,

the world is newer. The color

of the grass, the scent of last night’s rain,

the feel of the lover’s skin.

Everything feels charged

and abuzz with itself.

You might say, and

I would not argue,

that the world and everything in it

is another day older.

Yes, of course, and there

is also this: the taste of this peach—

I have tasted peaches before—

but this one is so very peach,

so remarkably peach,

like something I have known

only very, very new.

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