Posts Tagged ‘aspen’

Aspen at Heart

How would it be
to live like the aspen,
to know the self
as one expression
of a glorious, radiant whole,
to live in communion
instead of competition,
to be the first to come in
where damage has been done—
and oh, so much damage
has been done.
I, too, want to grow even in winter,
in cold and naked times
when growth feels impossible,
want to be at once
both soft and strong.
I, too, want to be fueled by light
so I might offer shelter
for the rest of the world.

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Inspired by dark and naked aspen,
she’s been practicing emptiness—
perhaps you, too, have seen the way
that barren arms can better hold
the changing colors of the sky.
The less she holds, the more love
seems to fill her, pours into her
like the winter sunset, vast and brilliant.
All these years she thought the point
was to be full. Now she marvels
at how resonant she is without
so much clutter—how resounding,
the honest beating of her heart.

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One in the Woods

crooked staves
aspen shadows on snow—
our attention the song

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Catkins in March



But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—”Thou mayest”— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open.

            —John Steinbeck, East of Eden



Today it was the aspen buds

that ruined my heart.


One glimpse of them

through the window, and


for that moment,

the inner winter I’d constructed


out of should and shalt

fell down like bricks. Perhaps I could have


returned to work, but instead

stared at the soft gray


tufts of spring. How they defy

the stubborn chill. And almost


against my will, in me I felt

an opening I didn’t quite want,


and perhaps I didn’t want to hear

a small voice saying, you


have a choice, you

have a choice.



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Just this morning
the leaves were green

in this stand of aspen
that now flash gold—

it happens that fast,
though of course

there is nothing
quick about it.

It took a whole season
to grow the leaf

and nurture it into
brilliance. And

it took decades
to grow the tree that grew

the leaf. And what
of evolution? Oh patience.

Perhaps this is why
on the woman who’s finally learning

how to sit still beside the leaves
there’s a bit of salt water

sliding down her skin.

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Old Friends Tanka

You tell me
a terrible story
and I tell you mine.
Driving home, the aspen
have never been so gold.

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