Posts Tagged ‘brokenness’

a piece
from another
who is broken
finds its way
into my frame,
and our shattered
bits fit
with each other.
And I am
forever changed.

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Part of me thrills to walk in the woods
and find dozens of old king boletes,
their cinnamon caps stretched and blotched,
the yellow sponge of their underbellies
bloated with rain and dappled with dross,
their stems turned to lace by maggots.
There was a time I felt responsible
for gathering them all to eat them, to dry them,
to share them, lest they go to waste.
As if I could ever gather them all.
As if to bloom and thrive
and return to the earth is a waste.
The mushrooms teach me something
of what it is to show up, to give it all
for the sake of giving it all.
I feel so lucky now to find their dark puddles
as they deliquesce.
Soon, there will be no evidence
they were here at all. I leave the woods
no less broken, more whole.

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There was that summer
when my record player broke,
the needle always returning
to the first song and playing
the whole record again and again,
through morning, through midnight,
and so George Winston’s Winter into Spring
played all through my summer.
Soft and pensive, each melodic phrase
hung spare in the air as if inviting
revelation or breath
before burbling forward like snowmelt.
How I loved that summer,
every moment of it kissed
with chords shattered into arpeggios,
silences and grace notes.
Sometimes breaking brings a gift
we didn’t know we needed,
the way a broken record player
steeped me for months
in the grace of a melancholic beauty
and made the haunting familiar.
The way a broken heart can bring up
a record of beautiful memories,
one after another, day after day,
and somehow heal us by making a masterpiece
of the wreckage.

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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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After the heart broke like a porcelain bowl,
when it shattered in pieces, scattered,
life itself reassembled the shards.
Friends bring their melted gold
to seal the bits together again.
I trace my fingers across the shining scars.
Some pieces will be missing forever.
Let me fall in love with what has been broken.
Let me dare to call it beautiful.

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Funny on a full moon night
I think about brokenness.
After fifty years of proving
entropy with my life, with
my thoughts, some part of me
still wants to believe in perfection.
I’ve never once thought the moon
any less perfect for being partial.
Tonight, I give myself permission
to be broken. As if I could help it.
But something in the permission
lets me relax, lets me soften
as if I’m covered with moon-drunk snow.
Lets me soften like Erik Satie played low.
Let me see you, the moon seems to say,
just as you are. And I step outside
and the moon slips in.

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Wholeness does not mean perfection. It means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life.

—Parker Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life

Brokenness, I am still learning

to embrace you. I would rather fix,

would rather mend, would rather solve.

Today, the hole in my security

is big enough to let fear blow in

like a strong winter wind.

I want a patch, want reinforcement,

want to stitch the seams closed.

And here I am, brokenness,

my needle and thread in hand.

Is it so wrong to want to repair?

My fingers are willing.

There is work to do. Here I am.

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inside every broken thing

there are wholes—

all that unbreakable emptiness

held in the chipped bowl

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One Storm




so quietly the snow

makes every broken thing


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