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With Amazement

–listening to Erik Satie’s Gnosienne #2

 

stepping into morning

as if it is a song

each footstep a note—

all day I tiptoe through spaces and lines

all day I am wondrously held by the rests

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Wherever we go, the chance for joy,

whole orchards of amazement—

 

one more reason to always travel

with our pockets full of exclamation marks,

 

so we might scatter them for others

like apple seeds.

 

Some will dry out, some will blow away,

but some will take root

 

and grow exuberant groves

filled with long thin fruits

 

that resemble one hand clapping—

so much enthusiasm as they flutter back and forth

 

that although nothing’s heard

and though nothing’s really changed,

 

people everywhere for years to come

will swear that the world

 

is ripe with applause, will fill

their own pockets with new seeds to scatter.

 

 

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Thank you for the Gnossienne No.2,

and for the directions

you wrote above the staves.

“With amazement,” you wrote,

at the start of the piece.

That is what I told my hands

as they bumbled tonight

through the melody.

Thank you for the melody.

Just today I saw

with amazement the four plover eggs

still intact in the nest,

though I could tell

by the wet silt around them

that the high water

had covered them.

My friend said she thought

they might not hatch.

I watched as the mother plover

ran at the river’s edge,

pretending she had a broken wing,

attempting to distract us.

“I think they will hatch,”

I said, though the words were said more

out of longing than belief.

Sometimes longing

is all we have.

“Don’t leave,”

you wrote in the score.

That’s what I thought

later today when

I saw the lonesome

duckling in the pond—

no mother, no father,

no other baby ducks.

I longed to be a mother duck,

to know what a baby duck

might need.

As it is, I gave it space,

knowing sometimes

giving space

is the most generous thing

we can do.

I do not want space.

Tonight I saw a picture

of my friend with her newborn girl,

both of them naked,

skin to skin. That

is what I want.

“With great kindness,”

you say, and that

is the way I want to live

this song of life—

in amazement and with

great kindness—to know

myself as the kind of melody

that might be played

poorly and still sound

beautiful because

the hands that played me

did it “lightly, with intimacy,”

though the keys keep changing

though the timing is unmarked,

though the song doesn’t end

anywhere near where it begins.

 

 

 

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