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Posts Tagged ‘courage’

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Today I take the courage I don’t feel

and the resilience I doubt and

all my unspent longing to serve,

and I bring them, cupped in my hands,

to the garden. They nestle there in my palms

like three baby birds that have not yet

opened their eyes. I take them to hear

the pungent song of the garlic shoots

and the thriving chives who chant

how to survive the winter.

I bring them to hear the strawberry leaves

who sing how to flourish despite the frost.

and the old song of chicken manure

and composted grass that hum about

how old life begets new life.

And they open their tiny beaks,

as if they could eat the green song.

How vulnerable they are.

So I open to the song, too.

I do what must be done.

I take in the nourishing song,

and feed them with my own mouth.

 

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Tonight, courage is the voice

of the mint tea as it lends its strength,

its green to the water.

 

It’s no small thing

to infuse something else

with warmth, with sweetness.

 

All day, I’ve wanted to be bolder.

All day, I’ve felt unsure

of what comes next.

 

The mint says yes, says drink,

says rest. Says, a small kick

can do a lot. The mint says,

 

one way to get stronger

is patience. It soothes me,

it helps me to sit

 

and feel what I feel

this smooth tea—

subtle, strong enough.

 

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And tonight I think

of the seventeen Italian doctors,

dead. And the hundreds

of thousands of people

whose test results were positive.

And all the doctors, nurses,

health care workers—

some right here in our town.

I think of them eating breakfast,

reading the same discouraging news,

then kissing their loved ones,

putting on their shoes,

and walking out the door,

though resolution’s as elusive

as last month’s peace—

the peace we didn’t

even know we had.

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Should We Tell Her?

 

 

 

Somewhere in my heart

there is a tiny woman

with a crimson scarf

and hair pulled back

who is balancing

on a tightrope—

she has not yet learned

that it is okay

for her to fall,

that the net

will always catch her,

so she keeps doing

the same boring walk

back and forth

thinking how brave

and how proficient

she is at staying

on the rope,

never learning

she could also

jump and swing

and leap and twirl and fall

and get back up.

 

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for Corinne, skate skier extraordinaire

 

 

The meadow was a violent scourge of white,

and still we chose to leave our cars and ski.

The wind and blowing snow obscured our sight,

 

lashed through our hats and stole our breath, but we

leaned into it and laughed, as if the storm

were nothing more than an excuse to be

 

more brave, more willing to eschew what’s warm

so we might face our fear, find joy in risk—

and sure enough, I felt myself transform

 

from nervousness to animated bliss—

and we for hours skied amidst the gusts

and for that time, knew nothing more than this:

 

to meet the crazy storm. When scared, to thrust

ourselves into the howling world. And trust.

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When her voice is weary

it means it is time to listen.

 

When her armor is heavy,

it means it is time to be soft,

 

time to slip out of her certainty

and her battle songs,

 

time to retreat from the lines

she has drawn, time to unknow

 

the world she thinks she knows

and to find herself in the world

 

that knows her. She lets the darkness

penetrate her, it caresses

 

her universal curves. Her quiet

joins her to an infinite quiet—

 

she is everything, nothing at once.

She relearns how vulnerability

 

transforms us in ways

ferocity can not.

 

She is her own fertile seed.

She is her own desert rain.

 

She’s her own cocoon, her own inner cave.

Sometimes it takes the darkness

 

to remind us how to be brave.

 

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The maker of gloves

is busy now. She knows

there are many hands

to sheath, much weeding

to be done. All the paths

of the garden are overrun

by brambles. The fountains

are covered in thorns.

The disarray didn’t happen overnight,

but in our present haste

to make things quickly right,

we’ve arrived with eager hands bare

and now they are bleeding, numb.

Attuned only to beauty,

how tender we’ve let

our hands become.

The maker of gloves

does not waste any time

tsk tsking. She starts

right in on her knitting,

infusing each stitch

with courage, ferocity.

Do not be surprised

when her gloves

arrive at your door.

Slip them on. They are

not for ornament.

She has made

them so you will feel

invincible. It’s not true,

but you must believe it.

The time for hard work has come.

 

 

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Calling

 

 

 

There are tigers in the forest.

I used to think I was tame. No one

knows why they are given

a certain task. My task

is to catch the tigers.

We keep each other strong.

My arms are bare. My head

is bare. We stay awake. We prowl.

 

*

 

A friend offers me a bit of something dead.

What is dead is dead, but still I try

to make of it something useful. I tie it

to a ribbon of blue and cast it into the forest.

The tigers do not care for beauty.

The tigers care nothing for what is dead.

It is me that they want.

I stay strong. The tigers stay strong.

 

*

 

I walk closer to the tigers

until we are face to face.

I have nothing to offer them

except for myself. This is all

we ever have to offer.

The tigers follow me now.

Once I thought I was hunter.

Now I see we are all each other’s prey.

 

*

 

There is a room with no windows,

a room with two hidden doors.

I lead the tigers here, though I

have never been here before.

The first door closes behind us

and as the tigers explore

I push on the weight of an inner wall

and slip through an inner door.

 

*

 

Anything tame is a lie.

It is only me that I want

and I will do even that

which I think is impossible.

I do not need a weapon.

I do not need a lure.

I am the wall that I slip through.

I am the hidden door.

 

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The Truth

it was so enviable

all that courage

I never had

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Too long I have dared to not dare,

love. Here, here is my whole heart,

and here is the fence I built

around it and here is the match

to burn the fence and while we are at it,

the doors, too, and the walls

and the weathervane.

I have no idea what comes next.

Fabulous.

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