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Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

 

 

 

 

Across the country, blizzards—blizzards

so big that folks speak of bombogenesis

while standing in line in the coffee shop.

 

And the snow begins to fall, snow

blocks out the sun, snow fills the roads,

the drives, the sills until people begin to forget

 

who they are when there isn’t a storm.

Imagine the storm goes on.

Imagine that it isn’t snow falling,

 

but forgiveness. Imagine all those people

rising morning after morning to find

themselves buried in compassion.

 

Piles of it. Heaps of it. Giant white drifts of it.

It must be dealt with before anything else

can happen. Before people can even

 

walk out the door, they must lift it

and move it and feel its surprising weight.

Who knew there was so much of it? Who knew

 

just how completely it could shut things down

if not engaged with properly? It takes some time,

perhaps, before the people see

 

how beautiful it is, how every single thing

it touches is softened, turned to sparkle,

turned to shine. A disruption, to be sure,

 

but sometimes it takes a blizzard

to find the calm. Sometimes

we must be stopped

 

before we learn how to go on.

And the colder it gets, the more

we must work to be warm.

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on my shoulder

small drip of last night’s snow—

all my frozen places take note

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Again this morning

the invitation to be soft,

to notice how when we wake,

the cage of thorns that sprang up

yesterday is not now here.

 

It takes only just one thought of blame

or righteousness, and the thorns

return in all their ferocity

and brandish their barbs,

and flaunt their hooks,

 

but there is this moment

when we can simply notice

how soft we are, how vulnerable,

and choose to stay that way,

and a moment later, choose again,

 

oh, the morning, it smells like freedom.

 

 

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I’m not saying we shouldn’t be angry.

Anger seems reasonable. But perhaps

we will do what I’ve heard the Inuit do—

spend the emotion on walking, walk a line

until all the anger has left our bodies.

The moment the Inuit notice the anger is gone,

replaced, perhaps, by sadness or fear,

compassion or just a quietness,

they mark that spot with an object

to show the extent of their anger.

And perhaps, if we’re lucky, when we walk

this way, it will be a long enough walk

that we arrive at each other’s doors,

object in hand, and when the object

leaves our grip, we’ll be able to use our hands

to greet each other, touch each other’s faces,

point to the horizon to all the other places

we might choose to walk now together.

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After the frost,

the sweet peas

rise from the dirt

like little green angels

with bowed heads

and tiny green wings—

 

it’s enough to make

a woman believe

small miracles can happen

if only she plants

the seed.

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unforecast, this thawing of the heart, a puddle now where yesterday I slipped

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One Warm Discovery

 

 

 

that fence I built

around my heart

makes real good kindling

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Two Realizings

 

with gratitude to Rachel Kellum

 

 

holding out the olive branch,

surprised to see the end’s

been set on fire—

oh foolish woman who hesitates

to drop it before she is burned

 

*

 

olive tree,

may you grow many branches,

may I prune you often

but not to the point of risking the roots—

for now, here is water, time

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The baby black swift is born behind a waterfall.
It never leaves its nest until one autumn day
it leaves the damp familiar and starts to fly.

Though it has never flown before, it will not land
until it reaches Brazil, thousands of miles away.

There is, perhaps, a wing inside forgiveness.
Just because it has never flown before,
just because it’s never seen beyond the watery veil
does not mean that it won’t instantly learn
what it can do.

Like the baby black swift, it has no idea
what it’s flying toward. It only knows
that it must fly and not stop until it is time to stop.

It sounds so miraculous, so nearly impossible.

It is not a matter of courage. It is simply
what rises up to be done, the urge to follow
some inaudible call that says now, now.

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In the book of spells

I do not find the one

that helps you forget

what you want

to forget. There is one

for making the bees

come out midwinter

and another to make

the walls speak what

they’ve seen. There’s

a spell for making

minutes go slower, and

a spell to turn a woman’s

skin green. But no spell

to forget what we wish

not to know. There are

thirty-one spells for

forgiveness, though.

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