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Posts Tagged ‘beauty’

On a Tuesday

 

 

 

 

Today I woke in the dark and was busy

making lunches during the sunrise,

though surely it happened. And I drove

 

in the low morning light along

the San Miguel River for half an hour,

not once noticing the color of the water,

 

the scent on the banks, though past

experience leads me to believe

that there were thousands, millions,

 

of tiny beautiful miracles happening

there in that half hour alone. How much

beauty is lost on me every day, every moment?

 

Though as I stepped out of the car

to walk into work, I saw, stuck to my boot, one

brilliant orange aspen leaf outlined in gold,

 

and for a whole minute, I stared at it,

marveled at its symmetrical veins,

its delicate stem, the astonishing intricacy

 

of its edges. How easily gloriousness finds us, sticks

to us even. How wholly available, this art

of meeting the glittering, luminous world.

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after Saint Francis and the Sow by Galway Kinnell

 

 

And when my daughter

runs to greet me, charges

me with joy, I am like

the great thick sow Saint Francis blessed

with his touch. For though

I look in the mirror

and see only what I wish to change,

my daughter sees differently

and bulldozes me with love,

a ferocious blessing,

reteaching me in a vigorous rush

that there is something

beautiful here, though

she wouldn’t name it as such—

and a small remembering

takes root in me and

vines throughout my thoughts,

and I flower there in blue surprise,

my own soil, again, enough.

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It was Concourse B that altered me

as I ran past old women in sarongs

and young wailing children and men

in red ties and couples holding hands.

At first, all humanity felt like a hindrance,

living hurdles between me

and gate B-14 where the plane

for Seattle was already boarding.

But then, and who can say why,

as I stitched past B-70, B-68, B-66,

I began to notice how beautiful they were,

the ones with dark briefcases and the ones

with strollers, tall ones and fat ones and

slight ones and crooked ones,

all of us constellating in the same place

at the same time, star dust

with dreams and goals and heartaches

and hopes. And as I wove through

the fabric of us,

I felt their blessing as they parted

to let me through,

and I blessed them, too,

with a thousand silent thank yous,

astonished at how different we are,

how very much the same.

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for Merry Stoll

wahtola - 02

After I learn that she died,

I go to the garden, grateful

that there are petunias,

cosmos and snapdragons

to plant. Salvia, pansies, and

verbena that will drape its purple

kindness down the sides

of the planter. I don’t

put on my gloves. I let my hands

enter the soil and feel

how good the earth is.

This is how I best remember her,

with a trowel or a scissors in her hand,

ready to transplant, to trim,

to harvest the blooms

into a bouquet for the altar

or table. Flowers hung

in her garage to dry. Flowers

in her bathrooms, her dining room,

her kitchen. It came easy to her,

which stem to place where.

Which color, which ribbon,

which grass, which vase.

She left beauty all over the place.

Once she sat with me

on her green and white couch,

and let me read her poems,

a whole book of them.

We sat there for hours,

and she listened and laughed

at Shel Silverstein’s antics,

and as I read, I felt like a flower,

like something just at the edge

of bloom. Her attention

made me beautiful.

Today, the garden is just starting

to find itself after winter. I cannot help

but weep into the holes I have dug.

It is tender, this moment, and fragile

this life. I feel like making wild pledges—

to honor her legacy—to find

and share beauty everywhere I go.

I feel determined to keep my word.

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When Georgia painted the petunia,

she knew that to make busy people stop

in surprise and consider petunia,

 

she needed to make it large—

and she did—enormous petunias

revealed, unfolding along the wall—

 

and there the busy people saw

the intimate petals of women,

when all Georgia wanted to show them

 

was flower, the essence of flower,

the beauty of flower, the pure

purpled splendor of flower—

 

how soft, how sensual, how

wholly day stopping

a single flower can be.

 

 

to see the artwork, visit:

https://www.okeeffemuseum.org/store/products/posters/flowers/petunia-no-2-1924/

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In the Chicago Zoo

 

 

 

We stop beside the flamingos,

their necks more question marks

than exclamation points—

I revel in their improbable beauty,

how their very being

brightens the bleak midwinter,

wonder if I might

not find a little

pink in me.

 

 

 

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Advancing

 

 

 

In fencing, they call it la belle,

“the beautiful one” the tie-breaking point

in a bout—that moment when

one person touches another

and the balance is tipped.

How long ago the balance tipped

in your favor. How long ago

I knew that all I really want

is to lower my sword,

give the invitation

for you to touch me again,

beautifully, tip to target, then

start the bout again.

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The pre-dawn light has already

claimed the stars so that anything

I might try to name in the sky

has disappeared—though there

is still one planet dazzling and white

just above the horizon. Perhaps

it’s better that I don’t know

how to name it, know only

to praise it, it’s small insistence

on light the only thing

I need to know.

 

 

 

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Self-portrait as Tenement

 

 

 

So sweepingly pink

the sunset over the city

that it pours

into the emptiness—

not to fix it, no,

more as if to show

what a little splendor can do

when given a place

to enter.

 

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Dear Finn,

 

 

 

Full of seed, the bird feeder hangs

from the cottonwood tree

we planted years ago.

Even without the birds,

it is beautiful—

dangling midair

with its copper perches

and glass column.

 

This morning in the news,

we are going to war with each other—

either with words or with missiles.

It seems clear

that we are our own problem.

 

No wonder we try to bring beauty in close—

the garden with its open faced pansies,

the hummingbird feeder with its hold

of sugar water.

 

The battles are not

what will save us,

it’s beauty—not just

outside us, but in us.

 

All day, let us look

for ways be like this brown bird

at the feeder, see

how it gathers light

in its open wings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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