Posts Tagged ‘emptiness’

There are cups on my shelf
I will never use—
cups that will never hold tea
nor water nor coffee.
It brings me such joy
they are there, though,
filled, as they are,
with memories.
Perhaps this is how
I begin to teach
the thirstiest parts of me
that a cup without something
tangible in it
is not always empty.

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It hides in the rafters,
this tightly woven nest of grass,
brown and humble,
lined with mud.
I would like to hold
this messy vessel in my hands,
as if to hold is understand.
I would like to know
what the nest knows—
how to hold what is fragile,
how to keep life safe,
how it is to be made to be useful,
how it is to be made to be left.
How beautiful it can be
to hold emptiness.

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The Inconceivable

Nothing can separate us from love.
There is no way to know this
without paying a cost so great
some part of us longs to bargain
with the universe and trade back
the priceless truth. But part of us—
the part that cannot be named,
the part that wakes at dawn,
the part that sings in the darkness,
the part that wades in the infinite—
it’s not so much that this part says yes,
more that it simply expands with the truth,
much as the universe itself expands
due to a dark, mysterious energy.
Any scientist will tell you,
empty space is not nothing.
We who grieve learn
to hold that empty space
and know it as love.
I know, it’s inconceivable.
We feel how it holds us, too.

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Inspired by dark and naked aspen,
she’s been practicing emptiness—
perhaps you, too, have seen the way
that barren arms can better hold
the changing colors of the sky.
The less she holds, the more love
seems to fill her, pours into her
like the winter sunset, vast and brilliant.
All these years she thought the point
was to be full. Now she marvels
at how resonant she is without
so much clutter—how resounding,
the honest beating of her heart.

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the room so bare

where just hours ago

there was light—


remembering now

how to celebrate emptiness

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driving past the great nests,

my mind fills in the empty air—

dozens of blue heron wings

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Easter Eve




On the table, a letter to the Easter Bunny—

the girl has written it in blue pen

thanking him for the joy he brings.


Beside the letter, two baskets

filled with empty plastic eggs.

So much inside wants to be filled. Or so


we believe. Tomorrow morning,

the baskets will be for a moment empty,

the eggs, hidden, ridiculous with candy.


Oh the things we use to stave the void!

There is beauty in barrenness—

just outside the window, the world


is trying to prove it, the field no longer

steeped in snow, yet not yet verdant

and green. And still it’s lovely, a stark,


splendor. though perhaps we need

to recalibrate to see.

Every Easter, she writes, I wake up


soooooooooo excited to find the eggs.

I think of the field, how it takes

no belief for it to fill, for it to burgeon.


And still it is no less magic. I think

of the girl, her joy in giving the Easter Bunny

her most beautiful egg, how she’s learning


the art of emptying. I hope you like it, she writes.

I tell her, I think the Easter Bunny

will cry, tears leaving my eyes, not sure


if I feel more empty, more full.






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For an hour and a half, my son and I

create emptiness. All those places

where there was snow

on the drive and the walk,

we shovel them until there’s a long,

sinewy swath of absence.

It is deeply satisfying,

this moving of matter

from one place to another,

creating a path, a way.

When we are done, we lean

on our shovels and revel

in what is missing. We high five

and smile and feel as if we’ve really

accomplished something together.

How oddly full I feel

after this effort of emptying.

How many paths in me

are waiting to be exposed?

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One of the rooms

in the longest night

has an empty chair

and an open book—

and in the book

is an empty page

full of light—

if you read it

long enough

you might forget

what an hour is,

or night,

forget all stories

besides this one,

older than scripture,

where everything

is possible.


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One the Day After




on my lap

the emptiness refuses to purr—

it is all that I hear


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