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Posts Tagged ‘belief’

The Berry Bush

 

 

I knew that they were poisonous, the berries.

Still, I used them to make soup. They were

the most beautiful shades of yellow, green

and orange, and they popped when you squeezed them

and spilled their sticky juice, their tiny seeds.

I’d stir them into puddle water with handfuls

of ripped green grass, small stones, broken sticks.

Then I’d stir. Stir and chant into the old silver pot,

chant words I imagined had been sung long before.

It was a soup, I knew, that could heal.

A magical soup that could nourish the world

just in the making of it.

 

Years later I consider what I knew then—

how belief is the most important ingredient.

How all healing begins with a bit of poison.

 

 

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The hope that is left after all your hopes are gone—that is pure hope, rooted in the heart.

            —Brother David Steindl-Rast

 

 

And so tonight when my daughter says to me,

Mom, are you Santa Claus? I ask her if it

would make a difference, and she says, Yes.

 

I don’t want him to just be a hoax for making

kids be good. And I say, I’ve never thought of Santa

that way. I think of him as generous. And magic.

 

And she says, But magic’s not real, and I say,

Some magic is. And she says, Well, it would

make sense. You always know what we want

 

because you’re the mom. And I tell her,

It is my great privilege to work for Santa,

and she says, What do you mean? And I say,

 

Well, you know, buying presents. And she says,

Why do you think he didn’t bring us a big present

this year, like he did last year? And I hear

 

in her voice, against all fact, hope,

the hope that lingers when hope is gone,

a pure hope, the hope that goodness is real,

 

that there is generosity beyond comprehension,

that some magic is real. She rolls over in the dark.

I keep hope rooted in my heart.

 

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One Persistence

 

 

beside the fireplace,

partially eaten cookies—

all of us wanting to believe

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fairy house on the san miguel

Will it work? says the girl,
when I hand her the magic dust
to sprinkle on the fairy house we’re building
out of sticks and stems and rocks.

Why wouldn’t it work? I say, dropping
more of the tiny red weed seeds
into her open hand. She doesn’t argue with me then,
only keeps her hand extended so I will sprinkle

more magic dust into her palm.
I can tell she doesn’t totally believe me.
I can tell that I wish she did. Oh the sad advent
of being purely practical. I am open

to believing improbable things.
I am tired of math and the same problem
never adding up. I could use a little magic.
I don’t mind if I need to make it up myself.

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