Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘death’

Wild and Precious

 

—for Mary Oliver, January 17, 2019

 

 

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

—Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

 

 

And when she said, “you don’t have to be good,”

my whole body became wild goose

as the truth of her lines winged through.

 

And when she asked, “what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?”

I walked outside and heard the low river.

 

And when she suggested we live

as “a bride married to amazement,”

I made my vows to life.

 

On the day that she died, the winter

was too warm for snow, and the rain

gave luster to every sullen thing.

 

In me, a storm threatened to rise,

but the only words that would find my lips

were thank you, thank you, thank you.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

The Diagnosis

 

 

 

Well, he said, I’ve seen it before.

You have all the symptoms.

Fairly common, actually.

You have life. It’s terminal.

I will give you, oh, about

forty years to live. Some people

really pull through, make the most

out of what they have left.

 

As he walked away, I listened

to his footsteps until all I could hear

was the sound of my own breathing.

God, it was beautiful, a tide, a river.

And that plant in the corner, have you

ever seen anything so delicate, so green?

Read Full Post »

After Reading about the Death

 

 

 

It is the work of the living

to grieve the dead. It is our work

to wonder how else the story

could have gone. It is our work

to weep and worry, and it is

our work to heal. The clouds

hide the moon, hide the sun, sometimes

for days. We don’t believe

it will be forever. Some part of us

knows not only hope, but patience.

It is the work of the living

to love even deeper

in the face of death, to know ourselves

as flowers on the pathway,

easily crushed. The world crushes.

Some stems spring back,

some never rise again.

We know we must be resilient,

but resilience has wings

and sometimes flies away.

It is the work of the living

to, against all odds, grow wings.

It is our work to live—

and work it sometimes is.

It is our work to show up again

and again and again, genies

who refuse to go back in the bottle,

lovers who ever insist on love,

stems that feel sunlight and,

though we can’t yet move,

let it encourage our being.

 

Read Full Post »

 

 

 

Scent of ripe quince—

how it wholly takes over.

Salt. Butter.

Pure cold water.

 

Release of carrot

just pulled from the earth.

Purple of lilac.

Playing with words.

 

Sweet thrill as a note

rises up through the lips.

Kissing, of course—

the sweet red crush of it.

 

Sun on my shoulder.

Voice of the lover.

The moment before

the moon breaks over

 

the horizon. Reading.

Walking for days.

Staring at stars.

High alpine skies.

 

And all the things I didn’t try.

All the unwalked paths.

Sleeping in. Waking up.

Uncontainable laughter.

And the silence after.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

 

 

Which, they say, is impossible,

but we all know the impossible

happens. If you dreamed

that you died, then I would

slip myself into your dream,

which is also impossible,

but now we’re on a roll

of impossibilities. So while

we’re at it, let’s say that while

I am in your dream, I slip

out of the dream and into

your room, which is really,

really impossible, but

wouldn’t that be cool,

to travel through dreams

into each other’s lives?

And then, once in your room,

I would watch you sleeping

and if you tossed and whimpered,

distressed by your death,

I’d lay my hand on your head

and I’d say, shhh, it’s alright,

You’re safe. I’m here.

And you would settle deeper

into your pillow, and I would

watch over your sleep and hum

a little song about home,

and the moon would hold us,

because this is a poem

in which impossible things happen,

and its long silver arms would

be warm and tender and soft,

and I wouldn’t wake you

in case it means I have to leave

the dream and find myself

unable to tell you you’re safe,

I’m here. I’m here.

 

Read Full Post »

One at the Memorial

 

 

 

between the tears,

a curve ball of joy—

life takes a victory lap

Read Full Post »

 

 

 

You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.

            —Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

 

 

And though the leaves blush golden and red

and though the sun cups my face like a hand

and though the chill air makes me catch my breath

 

the wind whispers, friend, remember your death.

And I feel so deeply, so wildly alive

as I climb the hill, slight burn in my thighs

 

but I cannot pretend I am deaf

as the wind whispers soft, remember your death.

The Roman generals had their slaves

 

whisper to them in their moments of greatness,

remember your death—even as the crowds cheered—

to help them remember be humble, be here.

 

And the wind whispers yes, whispers yes to me.

And reminds me to take each step gratefully.

Remember your death, it says. Live now.

 

And with every step, though I don’t know to whom,

I say thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

 

Read Full Post »

 

Think of the frost that will crack our bones eventually

            —Tom Hennen, “Love for Other Things”

 

 

Before I can love you, I hate you.

Because the frothy pink of the milkweed

and the monarch who travels thousands of miles

just to feed there. Because the dark leaves

of soybeans, millions of green hearts

per acre. Because ripe blueberries

without a hint of pucker. Because

of the touch of the man who loves me.

Because the cool breeze on my bare arms.

 

But to love is to open the circle

of what is beloved, to offer my attention

to the concert of crickets and crows,

to the proliferation of box elder beetles,

the weeds that infiltrate the field. Sound

of lawn mowers, jackhammers, swarm

of mosquitoes. Stench of Sulphur. Deep

snows that bury the drive.

 

And love says why stop there? Widen

the circle to toxic sludge. Yellow jackets.

Earwigs. Freezing sideways sleet. Men

with guns and hate in their stare. Girls

who spit disdain. And the pain

that steals sleep. And the pain

that never leaves. And the pain

that would obliterate every bright thing,

 

and in so doing, reveal what is most precious—

this ability to love. To love despite.

To love regardless. To love. To love

what I hate, even you, frost that will crack

my bones. Will you not be my final teacher

in how to offer my attention? Will you

not be my last great love?

Read Full Post »

 

 

I decided to take

the invitation seriously.

Nothing changed.

I made breakfast.

Went to work.

Walked.

Made a date

to speak with a friend.

Swore at the magpie

that dive bombed

my head. Ate popcorn

for lunch.

Made plans

for four months from now.

Took vitamins.

Drank green tea.

Watered the seeds

planted yesterday.

Talked to the seeds,

encouraged them to grow.

Read a book, stopped

at the penultimate chapter.

Some things are better

left unfinished.

Read Full Post »

 

 

 

There was a time when I’d pull his hair out

if he sat too close to me on the couch.

Now, I curl into his right side,

lean my head on his shoulder,

feel the trembling of his chest

as he weeps. How good it feels

to be close to him as we grieve.

How familiar, the shape of his head,

the heft of his hand as he reaches for mine.

How deeply right, this leaning

into sorrow together.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: