Posts Tagged ‘dark’

Because it is dark
I walk in the dark,
walk with no moon,
walk with the chill
of the measureless dark.
There is peace that comes
from letting the self
be with the world
as it is, and tonight,
it’s a dark world,
a world where I cannot see
far ahead, a world
of silhouette and suggestion,
a world that seems
to cherish whispers
and relish mystery,
a world where
the invitation is
to walk in the dark
without wishing it away,
without championing its opposite,
the invitation is
to be one who learns
how to live with the dark.

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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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Since you died, every shooting star is you.
Not a sign, exactly, more like a reminder
you came into my life brilliant and brief.
More like a reminder to say your name out loud.
As if I don’t already say your name out loud
at least a dozen times a day.

Tonight while walking in the cold
I saw two shooting stars,
and it reminded me of a warmer night
when you and your sister and I
stretched our bodies side by side
on the cool pavement and stared up at the sky
hoping for meteors.

Did we see any? I don’t recall.
I only remember how happy I was then.
A small bit of that happiness
reaches through the loss.
It takes me by the hand,
walks with me through the dark.

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On a day when the world is weighty,
   dark and dense with need,
       I want to be the earthworm
         that gives itself over to tunneling,
   its every movement an act
     of bringing spaciousness.
       And when minutes feel crushed by urgency,
   I want to meet the world wormlike,
     which is to say grounded,
       consistent, even slow.
   No matter how desperate the situation,
     the worm does not tunnel faster
       nor burrow more.
   It knows it can take decades
     to build fine soil.
       To whatever is compacted,
   the worm offers its good worm work,
     quietly bringing porosity
       to what is trodden,compressed.
   So often, in my rush to repair,
     I end up exhausted.
Let my gift to the world be
  my constancy, a devotion to openness,
     my willingness to be with what is.
       Let my gift to myself be patience
   as I tend what is dense and dark.

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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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for Sherry
All it takes is one moonless night
to realize how grateful I am
for those who bring light to the world—
I am thinking of my friend
who travels with lanterns
and hangs them from doorways
wherever she stays.
How she brings long strands of fairy lights
powered by tiny batteries
and then passes them out like party favors
so people might wrap themselves in the glow
and know themselves as carriers of light.   
How today she mailed me a photo
of me and a friend doubled over laughing
with a bright pink stickie note flashing “favorite!”
so that even the mail luminesces.
How, even in the darkest of hours,
she brings her gift for seeing good in others,
and she beacons, she candles, she moons, she stars.

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For a Moment

It’s the kind of night I wish for a firefly.
The fact that they don’t live here
doesn’t stop me from wishing.
Is it so wrong to want some small proof
of light in the darkness?

What I really want? Proof of miracles.
Proof of life beyond life.
Oh world, you’ve given me proof.
And I want more.

Perhaps it would be more poetic
if I could find my own bioluminescence—
even a metaphoric inner light.
Instead, I find my own wanting.
Hello wanting.
Hello wishing for something that isn’t here.

Because there are no fireflies,
I conjure the memory of fireflies.
Because there are no fireflies,
I sit in the darkness—how vast it is.
How full of dignity. How humbling.

I sit in the darkness until the darkness
scrubs me of me, until the darkness
feels like a proof for miracles,
until infinite space rushes in,
until for a moment
I forget how to wish for anything but what is.

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September Night

The mountain air forgets to be cold,
and my daughter and I walk in the dark
beside the river. I almost can’t see,
yet thanks to starlight,
we step over roots, over rocks.
There are moments,
even whole chapters of our lives,
when we understand how the smallest
bit of light makes a difference.  
Tonight, we are laughing,
singing as we go.
Trust, too, is a kind of light.
In this dark moment, it is all I see.

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Now I understand how grief
is like a mushroom—
how it thrives in dark conditions.
How it springs directly
from what is dead.
Such a curious blossoming thing,
how it rises and unfurls
in spontaneous bourgeoning,
a kingdom all its own.

Like a mushroom,
most of grief is never seen.
It grows and expands beneath everything.
Sometimes it stays dormant for years.

Grief, like a mushroom,
can be almost unbearably beautiful,
even exotic, delicate, veiled,
can arrive in any shape and hue.
It pulls me closer in.

Like a mushroom, grief
asks me to travel to regions
of shadow and dim.
I’m astonished by what I find—
mystery, abundance, insight.
Like a mushroom, grief
can be wildly generative.
Not all growth takes place
in the light.

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

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To Face the Dark

To face the dark,
one does not need a light.
Nor does one need a watch,
a feather, a melody, a sword, a pen.
One doesn’t even need a friend.
To face the dark,
one needs only to face the dark.
There is something easier then
about the facing, when we know
we need no preparation.
Nothing is asked of us except
the willingness to face the dark,
the willingness to pause
in that moment when we
cannot see, cannot know,
cannot float on the sea of habit,
cannot fly on the feathers of routine.
But already, I’ve taken this too far.
It’s so simple, the invitation,
that it’s easy to miss what is asked.
Not a journey. Not even a step.
Just the chance to face the dark,
to meet yourself in that facing—
and to notice what being erased
and what’s doing the erasing.  

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