Posts Tagged ‘connection’

for R.S.

I feel it. I feel in my fingers
something of starlight.
I feel in my breath something
like dawn. I feel in my inner caverns
something akin to the radiance
of glow worms. As if just knowing
that someone is holding me in light
has made the moment brighter.
It occurs to me I can do this, too,
and I begin to imagine others
gathered by sunset, carried
by candlelight, infused
with the soft warmth  
of a low campfire.
I picture the light
as it spreads across the world,
as it seeks out hearts
and lives I will never know.
What must it look like from space
as it spreads, as it grows,
as it blooms through this darkness
where we all live together.

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You share with me the song
that makes you cry.
Oh strange alchemy
of connection—
as I tune my heart to yours
what at first seemed dark
and moonless
begins to reveal
its tender light.

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Now I know there is a sacred cathedral
made of unspoken love,
a most beautiful cathedral  

built of generous silence,
a healing sanctuary created
by open hearts that reach out wordlessly.

I have been living in this cathedral
that your love built, and I am changed.
Now I trust loving silence

is a generous response
to another person’s pain.
When I am alone, I am not alone.

When you, in your own home,
open your hands as if in prayer,
I feel your hands holding me.

Your compassion touches me
the way light slips in through stained glass
to touch a face.

The pure hush of your hope
arrives in my heart like plainsong—
more breath than voice, as holy as any syllable.

Thank you for the ways your thoughtful silence
has lit in me thousands of candles
as I meet the darkest hours.

Now, I can’t unknow this: I trust love,
how it flourishes in the vast spaces
across miles, across time.

Such sweet, intense healing perfume—
like lilies on an altar—
the scent of your loving silence

as it opens me.

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I resist peeling beets,
hate wearing their red tint
on my hands,
but today, the thought
of sweet roasted beets
was enough to make me
overcome my reticence.
Later, I notice it is impossible
to feel separate and alone
when my hands wear the evidence
of what they have touched.
I find myself wishing
everyone could see on my skin
how my life has been marked by you,
how everywhere we touched
I wear the stain of love.

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Sometimes another person knows our heart
so well they offer us a song that becomes,
at least for a moment, our anthem.
In that moment, listening to lyric and melody,
the entire body re-attunes to life,
each cell turning not only toward the music
but also toward the giver,
and we are led deeper into that strange
and beautiful grotto of our heart
with its mosses and echoes,
a place at once strange and familiar,
and the song becomes a shining remover
of darkness, its light bouncing on our inner walls
until we relearn who we are—
the light of a million suns.

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Big Lesson

Today it feels so simple:
we are here to take care of each other.
How could we ever forget?
As if soil could forget
it is here to feed the trees.
As if trees could forget
they are here to feed the soil.
How could anything
ever get in the way of generosity?
How could we ever greet each other
with any words besides,
How can I help you?
As if light could forget
it is here to help illuminate.
As if dark could forget
it is here to help us heal.

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It is possible to be with someone who is gone.
—Linda Gregg, “The Presence in Absence”

I have no phone receiver to connect me to the other side,
but every day I speak to my beloveds through candle flame.
Every night, I speak to them through the dark before sleep.
I speak to them in the car when I am alone.
I speak to them when I walk beneath stars,
when I walk in the woods, when I walk in the rain.
It is possible to be with someone who is gone.
It is possible to feel what cannot be seen,
to sense what cannot be heard,
to be held by what cannot be touched.
It is possible for love to grow after death.
If there is a secret, it is, perhaps, openness.
The way air lets light move through.
The way a window invites in the scent of grass.
The way sand receives the ocean,
then, rearranged, lets it pass.

This poem was published in ONE ART: A Journal of Poetry on 9/11/22

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Along the lake and down the hill,
the road dead ended into a meadow
with a wooden fence a girl could slip through,

and slip through she did,
that five-year-old version of me,
slipped through the gaps into the tall green grass

and then wandered to the lake
where the weeping willow hung over the shoreline
and she could sit beneath its shade and disappear—

or perhaps more rightly, she could show up.
As herself. Show up not as a girl who lived up the road
but as shade, as shore, as tree,

as field, as green beyond the fence.
Perhaps it only happened once or twice,
that journey past the dead end,

but forty-seven years later, I remember
the dissolution, how beneath that tree
I was no longer who I was, only more so.

How I knew myself as integral to the miracle.
There were whole decades I forgot her,
that infinite version of me.

Tonight I can tell she never left.
How did she ever fit in my limited sense of self?
What does she have to teach me now

of fences, of shadows,
of sitting quietly,
of the art of slipping through?

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feeling it inside me
tender and tired
your heart

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Goodbye to holding you, goodbye
to family trips and snuggling before bed,
goodbye to plans and to laughter,
your clothes and your car. Goodbye
to the awe I felt as I watched you
become more yourself, goodbye
to the dizzying map of promise I saw
as you plotted your days. Goodbye to all I knew.

But now, it’s hello. Hello, love that still grows.
Hello as I rise, when I walk outside.
Hello, with my hands in the dirt, when I drive
the winding alpine divide, hello when I light a candle,
hello when the hot tears come. Hello, I say,
hello, aware now I am never alone.

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