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Posts Tagged ‘gift’

One Contentment

 

 

 

not all gifts are gifts we want

this one, perhaps, leave unopened

the day itself gift enough

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What She Really Wants

When she is drought,

be rain, and when

she is rain, be cup.

When she is lost,

let her be her own map,

and when she is wind

be wind. There are trees

in her, no, whole orchards.

Be soil and sunshine and bee.

When she is seed,

be time. When she

is moon, be sea.

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But you got it all wrong,

I wanted to say to that gift horse.

You brought me what,

stubbornness, devotion and persistence?

What kind of gifts are those?

I wanted to be a poet.

The gift horse reared and ran off,

leaving me with a thousand thousand poems

to read, a pen that will never run out,

and a whole lifetime of blank pages

just waiting to be written.

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For Christmas, I want to buy you the softest green
shirt, green the color of Wisconsin in springtime,
so green we could almost fall into the color
and find ourselves running once more to the lake,
cane poles in hand, to see if the fish are biting.
Or we might find ourselves in the dark green woods
behind the neighbor’s house where we used to dig
in the old junk yard for shards of blue and white porcelain.

But green is my favorite color, not yours. And those days
of running down the great grassy hill are gone, are gone
and faded. You like blue. Forgive me, brother, for buying
you again for Christmas another green shirt. Oh hush,
can you hear them, the cicadas, trilling through the leaves
of the old willow tree, serenading the warm summer night?

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Just because the new lemon squeezer
is useful does not mean I do not also admire it
for its cheerful yellow color and the surprising
weight of its grip in my hand. I have wanted
a lemon squeezer, not of course in the same way
that Romeo wanted Juliet, and not with the same
urgency that Rumi felt with his love for Shams.
Still, I have wanted it, longed for the ease of squeezing
a single lemon half into the chickpeas before they are hummus,
wanted it so I might juice a small lime into the blender already fragrant
with jalepeno and garlic, Thai basil and peanut oil.
It was a simple wish. And now, here it is
in my hands, not only useful but beautiful.
There will always be work to do.
A lemon squeezer by any other color might not squeeze as sweet—
though we use what’s at hand when we have to.

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Not the song but
the silence under the song,
not the stars
but the darkness between,
not the kiss
but the longing before the kiss
and the trembling long after, and
not the snow
but the spaces connecting the snow,
not the heart
but the pulse that persuades it to move,
no not the web
but the light in the strands,
not the certainty
but the wonder that birthed it,
and the branches, bare
and the cup, empty
waiting to be filled.

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Wish List

Not just your eyes,
though that, too,
not just your words,
I want your softness.
I want all the walls
around us down.
I want to stand
out under that big
starry sky and know
nothing except you
and me and big
starry sky. I want
your quiet. I want
your core. And I want
the thoughts under
your tongue, the ones
you keep there
afraid they will hurt
if they come
into the air,
small puffs
of vulnerable clouds,
and then I want
the strength to
be hurt and still
stand with you
there, open
as the field,
as the sky.

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Haiku to Prometheus

I too, stole fire.
I, too, waited daily
for the eagle.

*

Just one piece of sun.
That’s all I wanted. After all
everything is broken.

*

It did not look
like a gift, the devouring
from the inside out.

*

Only clay after all.
But we’re more than that.
Ask my liver.

*

It never once
looked over its shoulder.
Brown wings blocked the sun.

*

I’d almost say
I came to like it. Could you
understand?

*

Isn’t it funny
I can’t remember now
the color of the eyes.

*

Tonight so full
the moon. It can be so lovely,
emptiness.

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In silence
everything
is possible.

Our words,
enwombed,
could become

honey,
could sprout wings,
or (imagine)

could shape themselves
as just the right words
that fall out at just

the right time.

Or, perhaps,
it’s that silence
does the work

that words
can’t do,
linking us

to nothing,
which is
everything.

I give you
silence.

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As salt dissolves in ocean,
I am swallowed up in you
beyond doubt or being sure.
Suddenly, here in my chest a star
came out so clear it drew all stars into it.

—Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks, Say I Am You

Dear Rumi,

It is easy to believe that a star could come out so clear in your chest,
a star so clear it could draw all stars into it, but in my chest? Here?

A star so clear? I don’t think so. No wonder I stumble
each time I try to memorize this line. I don’t think this is humility.

Is it fear? Fear of being responsible to my own light?
Here in my chest my own heart is straining against the cage

of my ribs, pushing hard all the oceans of blood that stay
in the shores of this skin—some interior ocean I am afraid

to go swimming in. “Not past the tip of the nose.” That is what
my teacher says, and time and time again I feel how true it is,

and now, your words like rocks in my mouth, here in my chest,
the same lesson again. I have been dreaming of stars,

dreamt that they were being poured into my mouth, not just the stars
but the spaces between them. Are these the stars of which you speak?

My god, here they are, already they have been given to me, and I am somehow unable to see them, unable to believe my own experience,

unable to unwrap the packaging and receive the gift. Here in my chest—
but these stars are not for me. Not something to make me brighter,

but a light that belongs to everyone. All of us dissolved
into the same ocean, all of us dissolved in the same night.

I can almost touch this, and then it is gone,
there is still too much of me here.

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