Posts Tagged ‘being present’

            Tuolomne Meadows, Yosemite
The meadow is a vast embrace for light
and does not prepare for predicted rain.
White slabs of granite gather warmth
in their mass with no thought
of storm, and for a sun-drunk moment,
unshackled from purpose,
I’m undone from myself,
more becoming, less someone,
less trajectory, more field,
more attention to cinquefoil, dragonfly,
thin sweetness of mountain air.
In loving the world that is, I am exactly here
Buzz of fly. Beat of heart. Path of ant.
Beat of heart. Dry needles. Dry moss.
Beat of heart. Beat of heart.
Sage. Beat of heart. Stone. Beat
of heart. Deep spring. Tall pine.
Beat of heart. Beat of heart.

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Waking Up

Wait a minute, what if this is it?
            —John Tarrant
This is it, I think, as I lie in bed, not wanting to leave the warmth.
This is it, my feet meet the cold wood.
This is it, I water the orchid.
This is it, I boil water, make tea.
I think, I’ll be a better person tomorrow.
This is it, me dreaming of fresh starts.
This is it, defuzzing the sweater.
This is it, paying bills, answering mail, frying eggs, washing pans.
No life but this one.
No fresh start but here.
This is it, the cat sits on my papers.  
This is it, the phone doesn’t ring.
This is it, the floors need mopping,
the letter needs written, the class needs planned.
This is it, me wishing I could be more perfect.
This is it, this. This only. Only this.
This is it, this flutter in my chest
when the sun enters the room,
the natural leaning toward the light.
This is it, this silence.
This cold. This warmth.
This longing. This song on my lips.

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There will be more
swells of grief that tug
me into their gray embrace,
and swirls of lament,
and great rollers of loss,
and rising waves of ache.
But for now,
the morning sun
slips low through the window
in a major key
and the cat finds a home
in my lap and purrs
and the tea in my cup
is warm and full of bright notes
and I’m here, in this
peace, in this sunlit
octave, I’m here.

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The Diagnosis




Well, he said, I’ve seen it before.

You have all the symptoms.

Fairly common, actually.

You have life. It’s terminal.

I will give you, oh, about

forty years to live. Some people

really pull through, make the most

out of what they have left.


As he walked away, I listened

to his footsteps until all I could hear

was the sound of my own breathing.

God, it was beautiful, a tide, a river.

And that plant in the corner, have you

ever seen anything so delicate, so green?

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Big Love




singing the same song

again and again—

each time, finding new wings

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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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The snow begins
then stops to fall.
In the alley, brown
tracks run against the white.

The gray folds through the air
and unfolds. Nothing
about this day seems
capable of settling in.

It is a like a woman
thinking about what
she wants. The blossoms
of her thoughts open

like roses in fast forward.
They wilt and dry in similar
fashion. They are out of season.
This does not stop them.

Sometimes we like to think
we are waiting. Waiting
for something marvelous to happen,
or waiting for an ache to disappear,

or waiting for gray to be
something other than gray.
And sometimes we see what
a gift it is, this indecisive day,

this watching imaginary blooms
that seem so real you can almost
smell the red perfume, almost.
Outside the window,

it is snowing again. No,
not snowing. But the gray
it has settled in and now
the dirty tracks look

like empty staves and anyone
listening might hear through the glass
how the birds don’t wait
to fill in the space with song.

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Useless the trail
I thought would take me back—
the crumbs are still there
but I no longer believe
in going back

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Vivian Learns Present Progressive

Finn says to me yesterday, on Mother’s Day, “Mom, when is kid’s day?” My husband replied, “Everyday.” So in that spirit of the ongoing celebration of our children–how they teach us and undo us–here’s a poem published today in the beautiful Journey of the Heart blog. 

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They’re higher than I would have thought,
these walls, and colder, too, the sunlight
only reaching the top of the maze. But I
have my thread and a crust of rye bread.
I am shuddering sooner than I’d imagined I would,
only six turns in. The sword is too heavy to carry.
I turn to the walls themselves, and say to them
what I have rehearsed to say to the minotaur:
What do you have to teach me?
Already it is unclear why I am here. Was I chosen?
Did I choose this? The walls say nothing at all.
They say, What does it matter why? You are here.
I drop the thread, eat the bread, lean the sword
against the wall and sing whatever tune
comes. The song ricochets in the narrow halls
and rises out of the maze toward the sky. I can see
it is blue. I can smell the wild roses that just this week
came into bloom, and though they are not in here,
they’re here. I ask the roses, what do you have
to teach me? They say nothing. They say,
it is not how to die, it’s how to be alive.
The minotaur, I hear his snarl. Part of me favors
to crouch. Part of me tucks the pink scent into my hair.

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