Posts Tagged ‘attention’

Stitching It Together

In our imperfect world/ we are meant to repair/ and stitch together/ what beauty there is
            —Stuart Kestenbaum, “Holding the Light”
Today I gather the morning light
as it angles gold across the lawn.
I gather the scent of fennel fronds
in the garden and the surprising sweetness
of the one-bite strawberries
and the softness of the shawl
I thought was lost, but today I found.
I gather the weight of my daughter
as she leans into me on the couch
and the smooth burn of rye whiskey
and the purr of the cat as she naps
deeper into my lap, and I stitch
them together with the thread
of my attention.
Long ago, I learned what I focus on
creates me. Not that I ignore the bindweed,
the news, the drought, the young raccoon
dead beside the road. I do not turn away
from the stories that make me weep.
I am willing to be ferocious—
to stand up for what I know is true.
But I study what is beautiful,
what is generous. I offer it my devotion.
Even in this moment writing this poem,
I stitch in the pauses and the stumblings—
these, too, are beautiful because they are true.
I stitch in the pure potential that steeps
in uncertainty. I stitch in silence. I stitch in hope.

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surrounded by the most

lovely silence

the crow

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Slicing the tomato

as if the world depends

on how well the tomato

is sliced—tell me

that it doesn’t taste

sweeter, sharper,

more red.

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I return to find the basil dead,

wilted and browned, dull limp flags.


And the cosmos, bent and spent

and dead. And the beans, dead.


And the marigolds, still brilliant,

but the forked tongues of their leaves


say they are dead. What a difference

one night of cold can make, how


no matter how warm the season has been,

it irrevocably changes things.


It doesn’t matter I knew it would happen

eventually. The petunias fall all over themselves


in profuse bloom as if to say, it’s okay,

not all is lost, but it’s enough to make a woman


decide to pay attention, to be warm

in every garden she enters.


Some blooms defy the seasons.

There’s so much beauty at stake.

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In the Darkness




rubbing ideas

together like sticks—

lucky to get a spark


but sometimes,

just noticing

the world as it is,


our attention

builds entire bridges

made of light

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But not this one,

its pale under wings


flapping and gliding, soaring

on the updraft,

the rise of it, oh,

the surprise of its shape.


How easily the world

rewards our attention,


how easily I

lose track.

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The world exists just fine without
our appreciation. It is not for us
that the dandelions bloom in tides of yellow

across the valley floor. It is not for us
that the elk stream in a slow brown current
before they disappear into the Englemann spruce.

And then there are the tiny empires
of grasshoppers, ants and bees—
and the underground realms of prairie dogs

and worms and rhizomes and moles—
so much of the world we never see.
And still, this drive toward gratitude.

Still this tug to pull over the car and step out,
this impulse to offer the world my attention.
As if being very still were as vital to

the moment as the scurry and swerve,
scamper and stride. As perhaps it is.

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Four Gifts

clouded sky
I never doubt
the stars


yellow dotted line
one foot on either side
walking with the crow


clenched, clutched, still
the only thing that makes sense
open the heart again


inside the wailing

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Love Becomes Her

When we use our attention to touch and open the deeper truth in a person, we not only catalyze the experience of love, we become love. The source of love is revealed to be within us; we no longer have to go looking for it somewhere outside.
—Nicole Daedone, “Love Becomes Her,” Tricycle Magazine

It is not too late for love.
Tonight the moon rose,

as it always does, but it
was not the same. It rose

as if close enough to touch,
right there, but I could not touch it.

I gave it my whole attention, then,
listened only to the sound

of it turning while we, too,
were turning, though the sage,

the rocks, the dry arroyo
did not attest to our turning.

The desert had other sounds, too,
but I had, for that moment,

ears only for the moon,
and felt, how strange, my own rising,

felt it so fully I nearly cheered
as the whole vacant shine of it

crested the mesa, cheered though
it was further away then,

or so it seemed, further away, or so,
I see, it only seemed.

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So busy watching my feet
move over the small stones,
dried leaves, paths of ants,
it is a long time before
I see the birds.


What is it I am circling?
What is this longing
to name it?


The slats of shadow
and light only look
like prisons.
We slide through the bars
like song.


The bell does not ring
when we call it bell. It rings
with the playing of it.


And what is playing me,
this too-solid bell of a
flesh called woman,
Hollow me, I am
diligently practicing
my one note
in the symphony.


All these obstacles,
and still
the unspiraling line.

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