Posts Tagged ‘body’


(v.) to lie in bed for a long time, to lounge around

When the eyes decide
to stay closed.
Though it’s light.
Though dark tea
and blue skies await.
Though there’s music to hear
and books to read,
and sugar peas fresh on the vine,
still the eyes decide
to be closed is divine.
And then there’s the warmth
of the bed, the perfect
weight of soft sheets,
the way the blood
has transformed into honey
and the limbs now curl
so perfectly into the perfectly
sleep-drunk, ease-heavy body.
When there’s work and a host
of sparkling to-dos,
but all the eyes want
is to stay closed,
to sail on the sweet ship
of near-sleep just a few,
just a few more,
just a few …

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Doing the Heart Work

The heart circulates blood through the body
a thousand times a day and not once
do I give it a thought. Not once do I think
of those four chambers, flooding and releasing,
the valves opening and closing to keep blood flowing.
It does this while I eat, while I crumple, while I teach.
It does this while I hold my daughter as she weeps,
while I stumble, while I fall apart, while I sleep.
Oh body, though I speak of being broken hearted
and the gifts that come in the breaking, meanwhile,
you go on with your ceaseless heart work, the work
of flow, the work of current, the work of push through,
of never saying no, the work of life, the necessary work
that allows all the beautiful breaking open to happen.

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One Impossible Hug

my arms still recall
the slender stem of your body—
oh, sweet empty circumference

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On the First Day of the New Year

I twist.
My knees
go right,
my gaze
goes left.
I pause
like this—
in deep
wring out
old stress
like water.
I inhale
and lengthen,
exhale, squeeze.
How quickly
new thoughts
rush in.
I twist

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Dark Praise

In each of us thrives an inner world
that does not love the light.
An inner world of womb and breath,
the most essential dark
where blood moves and lungs expand,
where neurons fire and cells divide,
where the heart pulses and muscles build,
where all words form, where all thoughts nest,
the secret world of humanness—
the dark we are, the dark we need,
this secret dark we cannot see.
For all its wounds, its rest,
its miraculous repair,
I praise this living dark
we carry everywhere.

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After I’ve spent a whole day being stone,
my daughter plays our song on the stereo
and my body is whirlwind, a column of air
spinning round and round, gaining momentum,
and what once was sandstone in me is now dervish,
is dust devil, is momentary phenomenon,
and I barely recall what it’s like to be dense
as I sing and my arms rise and twirl
and I swirl through the room around my girl
thrilling in being this woman on this night,
this spinning delight, this whirling release,
short lived, perhaps, but oh for this twinkling,
I’m windborne, I’m dancing across the horizon
and the wind says, remember, remember this.

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Change in Perspective

Everything is made of simple forms,
said the art teacher—
a car, the body, everything.
And for the first time in my life,
I saw myself as an assemblage
of cylinders, spheres, cubes and cones.
It was thrilling, after fifty-three years,
to break down the body this way—
to see my fingers as stems,
my cheekbones as grapes,
my calves as long pinecones.
And for a moment, it all seemed so simple.
I am a constellation of forms that moves
through a larger constellation of forms.
For a moment, I didn’t think of the shapelessness
of ashes that conform to the cube of a box.
For a moment, I knew that wetness
falling from my eyes as just another sphere.

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Impossible Change

for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing
            —Galway Kinnell, “Saint Francis and the Sow”

Body that held the bloom of the child
as it grew inside, grew from one cell
to two trillion cells, body that stretched
and leaked and ached and tore, body
that was on board for a miracle, thank
you. Thank you for stooping, for chasing,
for bending and cuddling, for creating milk
and spilling tears and falling asleep as you must.

How empty the arms now, how slow the pulse,
how tight the throat, how strong this urge
to curl into what is not here. How hard it is
to open, to meet the world anew.
And yet every day, you turn to what is real
and, how is it possible, the heart, it blossoms.

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O body, cracked bell
that still sings when struck,
O leaky cup,
O broken stem,
I love you, body,
your crooked path,
your crumbling walls,
your faulty math.
I love the way
you stopped believing
you could ever
hold it all,
how you began
to let yourself
become the one
that’s being held.
I love the graffiti
on your inner halls—
scrawled names of all
who shaped you.
O body, my wreck,
my holey glove,
my street worn sole,
my crumpled page,
forgive me for years
of trying to fix you,
for believing the fable
of whole,
you, my perfect
splattered heart,
my stuttered hymn,
my sacred
begging bowl.

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Not everything broken
need be fixed.
Even the loveliest cup,
the one that seemed perfection,
the one that fit
just right in the hand
and held the favorite wine,
even that cup is only a cup,
and, being fashioned
out of breakable clay,
it was, we could say,
made to be broken.
The fact it was fragile
was always a part of its value.
In shattered fragments,
the cup is no less
even more treasured now
that its wholeness
isn’t taken for granted.
There are some who
would throw the pieces away.
There are some who
would meet them with
glue or even with gold
in an effort to repair.
But there are some
who will cherish what is broken,
hold it even more tenderly now,
trusting its use—
though different—
is no less valuable.
Trusting a fragment
is sometimes more than enough.
Trusting in every end
is a beginning,
and we might now
sip our wine
straight from the source.

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