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Posts Tagged ‘emptiness’

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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Hymn to What’s Bare

 

 

 

Last night’s wind scoured

the trees and stripped

their boughs—

it is easy in today’s calm

to wish my soul had been out

in the woods last night.

Emptiness reveals more

than all the gold, all design.

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Still Life

No leaves on the trees

beside the ditch,

and the first snow

outlines in white what remains

in their absence.

What remains is

the dark gesture of tree,

thrust and jut and extend.

Just this morning,

Meredith taught me

to see the movement

in what appears to be still—

even a brown jar,

she says, suggests twist

and elongate and turn.

I wonder if I could be still

like that, still enough

that the snow might settle

on me, though I’m reach

and wrestle and brawl.

This is our practice,

to move at the same time

toward quietude, toward swirl;

to be the scaffolding that holds up

the miracle; to be shine and rise and fall.

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Two Nearlys

Two Nearlys

these empty hands—

there was a time

they grasped for emptiness

*

just before the words

there’s the chance to say nothing—

trees don’t have this problem

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I find a deserted nest
just big enough to carry
in one hand—
it is beautiful, this emptiness,
so beautiful I want to hold it.

Somewhere else, a great migration.
I cradle the wreath of dried grass.
It is another kind of journey
to stay.

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Canticle

It’s always something else
we wish would save us—

the right words, for instance,
especially spoken on the right lips.

Or perhaps the temporary shine
inside the generous glass of wine.

And if not that, then friendship.
Or an altar. The sun or a song or a kiss.

But somehow in our hearts
there is always an empty chair,

some sense that someone or something
else is supposed to be here,

even if the room is light. Even when
the rightest words are found.

Even if the wine tastes of melon and grass.
Oh that emptiness. That emptiness

is a chance to ask ourselves, really ask,
who is the one who thinks she needs

to be saved? Sometimes I watch her
slip right through the cracks.

She takes her cross with her,
her books, her prayer mat,

her musts, her beads, her shame,
and what remains is everything.

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I used to have it, the longing
to be cleaned out, to become
like the school room before
the students arrive on the first day
of school—the desks polished,
the dry erase board perfectly white,
no un-erasable traces of old problems
and schedules and conjugations.
I longed to be even cleaner than that—
to be emptied. To be like the room
without furniture. Or perhaps even
to be like the vacant lot after
the building had been torn down.
Call it a second chance. Or a third.
A clean slate. We have so many ways
to speak of starting over. And of course
I believed I’d do it all better this time.
And then one day I stopped believing
in the sanctity of the eraser. What
great teachers, all these perfect failures.
One day I could feel it, how
the life I wanted to live was nowhere
near as beautiful, as full, as rich
the life that wants to live me.

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