Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

            for Jay
We stepped into cool autumnal air
ripe with the red scent of tiny crab apples
and charged with the darkling promise of storm.
We were well-armed with studies and stories
on why we might want to choose awe—
but awe chose us the way gold chooses aspen,
the way love chooses friends,
the way shorter days choose fall,
the way beauty chooses what will die.
And aspen leaves whirled all around us
and caught in our hair, and we knew ourselves
as small essential beings in a wide, astonishing world.
*Hey, friends, just saying that the Original Thinkers Festival program on the Power of Awe was AMAZING!!! If you have never checked out Original Thinkers in Telluride, well, it is great for people who are curious and like to engage in conversations about paradox, science, emotion, the natural world and community. 

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Late Summer

            for Vivian and Christie

This lyric afternoon with its fruit trees
and friendship and barest kiss of rain,
is it so wrong to want to save it, the way
I will process the dark plums into jam?
Is it so wrong to want to preserve
the honeyed song of summer, the warmth
of sun, the pleasure of an afternoon
with my daughter and a friend?
An ovation of thunder.
Scent of basil. Purr of cat.
The creamy fuzz of the growing quince.
The joy as we try for the first time
black apricots, their skin so surprising,
their flesh so nectar-ish. I will freeze
most of the ripe blackberries we gathered,
will savor them come snow, come cold.
A day such as this is like yeast in wheat dough—
it’s not there just for taste, it’s the difference
between bread and a brick.
It invites a trust there will be other days
filled with elation. Dig in, it seems to say.
Don’t save for later what can only be lived today.
Even the disbelief that a day could be so good—
that too, tastes so nourishing, so sweet.

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She carries a vase
of delphiniums and daisies
and I carry a tune
and we toss them all
like wishes
into the river.
Some wishes
are more beautiful
for knowing they will never
come true.
When we are done
we hold hands in the twilight
and watch the last
of the flowers float
in the shimmering eddies.
This is the moment
I would not have known
to have wished for.
I lean into this moment.

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for Augusta    

There is not a shade of judgment in her voice
when my friend says to me, “You feel serious.”
Serious, I know, is a kind way to say,
There is joy all around you that you aren’t seeing.
Serious is her way of saying, Sweetheart,
I can tell you are locked into stress.
How strange and beautiful to have her name
the seriousness, and that’s all it takes
to feel my thoughts ease, to remember hands,
remember breath, remember lips.
There are, of course, good reasons today
to be serious. And there is also a tea party
with a seven-year-old girl. And yellow snapdragons
in ecstatic bloom. And a juvenile grosbeak
at the feeder. And daisies gracing the river bank.
There’s goat cheese and sauvignon blanc.
There’s waking to the purr of the cat.
Oh the gift of spaciousness. How it leaves me
astonished at life—so able to see there is more.
So simple, sometimes, when a friend
shows you a door in the day you never
could see on your own. So generous,
how she doesn’t try to offer you the key.
She just trusts you to walk up to that door,
perhaps push, perhaps see what happens next.  

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Night Walk

            for Lara and the Dark

Some conversations prefer the dark,
so, long after sundown we walk
in the nearby field
where a wide path’s been cut
through tall grass gone to seed
and there’s just enough starlight
to make out the twin dirt ruts
where we can walk side by side.
I love conversing this way,
when the dark is less a setting
and more a partner in conversation—
as if nothing we say
could ever make it stop holding us,
as if it will listen for as long as we speak,
as if it will fill in any gaps
with its own simple syntax
of infinite ink. And so we walk,
you, me, and the gentle dark.
When we finally return to the light-warm home,
a little midnight comes in with us
and joins us for sleepytime tea.
It seems to know not even a whisper is needed,
just the certainty that we are being heard,
truly heard, the way
only an old best friend can listen,
and there’s nothing we can’t say.

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I can be the silence
that touches your skin
like raw silk,
silence soft as a lover’s hand,
silence that holds you
when you have pushed
everyone away, even me.

I can be the silence
that leans in to know you,
silence that opens
like the scent of peonies,
silence that opens
like troughs between waves.

I can be silence
that wears clunky boots
and the silence
of the phone that does not ring.

Though I want to give you
the gift of my arms, the gift
of my ears, the gift of now,
I am learning to be the silence
that gives you the gift of yourself—

silence of patience, silence of time,
generous silence, tender silence,
silence that falls like the softest rain,
silence of sunshine, silence of soil,
silence of leaf, silence of bud
as it grows into what it will be.

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for Andrea Bird

A person, once a stranger,
can slip into your life,
unplanned, of course,
as if brought by the wind
in much the same way
a seed of spotted saxifrage
can slip by happenstance
into a crack in a rock
then root and grow.
Eventually, the saxifrage
will split the rock open.
By then, it will be full,
its flowers prolific
and beautiful.
If you are lucky,
this once stranger
will do in time
the same to you—
will be alive in you,
crack you open
with their beauty,
make you grateful
to be so broken.

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Beside the purple lupine
she says, “The thing I most
don’t want to talk about—”
and then, with a sigh,
she talks about it,
and the path and the wild iris
and the bear bell and I
all listen as she meets
what she most wishes not
to meet. There are moments
when we step right up
to the line that delineates
the world that is and the world
as we wish it would be,
and no matter how much it hurts,
there is such relief in meeting the truth
that I swear as she spoke
the world was even more itself—
the lupine more purple,
the sky more blue,
and my heart more a heart
because of her courage
to take off her mask
and says this, this is what’s real.

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Sunday Morning

A soft poached egg
and a slice of pumpernickel toast,
a cup of English Breakfast
and my oldest friend and I
sitting at the round table a sunlit room
laughing and talking—
there are moments so ordinary
as to be perfect—moments
we feel so completely ourselves
we don’t try to hold on to the minutes.
Such moments don’t try
to put themselves in a picture frame,
don’t pretend to be necessary or grand.
They ask us for nothing except
that we spend them like change,
as if we had a lifetime supply.

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On Christmas Eve

On the doorsill,
left without a knock,
was a very small bag
with a big silver bow.
Inside was a jam jar
with a red gingham cap
filled with homemade confetti,
Its thin red label said:
Christmas magic,
just sprinkle.

And it’s that simple:
a bit of bright paper
cut into tiny squares
and the true love of a friend,
and I am awash with magic,
baptized by tears of devotion
and wonder, marvel
and memory, loss
and hope and gratitude.

Let the jars we are
be vessels for love.
May we be certain
that whatever we carry inside us,
we are capable of real magic—
the kind that flings open
the heart of another
and lets wild joy rush in.
The kind that turns words
into wine. The kind
that takes a gray rainy day
stained with grief and sickness
and turns it into

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