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Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’


Because I can, I carry the box with your ashes
around the house as if you’re a baby on my hip.
I point out things and explain them,
just as I did when you were young and alive.
There, I say, there is where you practiced piano.
Here, I say, is where you sat at the counter
and wept when I told you the story
of Cinderella. And here is the wall
where we hung all your artwork.
And here is the room where you slept.
Here’s the plant you gave me last year—
see how it’s doubled in size?
And here’s the new couch in the place
where the old couch once was,
the one on which we snuggled each morning
before school. I walk the floor as I did
when you were young and fussy and needed
touch and movement to calm you.
Now I am the one who is calmed by the walking.
So familiar, these steps around the kitchen island,
these steps around the table.
So familiar, this weight on my hip.
Soon we will place this small wooden box
in the ground, so while I still can, I carry you.
Oh sweetheart, how is it I’m thriving amidst this gravity?
It is, I am sure, because I, too, am deeply companioned,
carried from moment to moment, from space to space.
And though I don’t hear it, there is perhaps a voice
that says to me, Here is where you lit
a candle every day. Here is where you practiced
to love in new ways. And here is where
you did not judge yourself as you wept.
Here is the place where you did nothing but breathe.
And here is where you thought of all the people
who have carried you.
And here is where you said thank you.

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I remind myself I have chosen this—
this lethargy, these aches, these chills,
I remind myself I paid
for this sore arm,
I paid for this chance to shiver.
I wanted the broken down parts
of the virus to enter my body,
wanted special molecules to make
my immune system stronger.
Oh Shingrix, you have done
what my husband, my mother
and my doctors cannot—
you have put me in bed before nine o’clock.
You are like a school marm
with gray hair pulled back tight
and a ruler in your hand
to smack my antibodies to attention.
When I do not get a painful, red blistered rash,
I will likely forget to thank you,
just as I forget to be grateful
when there is not a plague
of grasshoppers in the field,
forget to be grateful when I make dinner
without slicing off my fingertip,
forget to be grateful for the tire
that didn’t fall off of my car.
So I’m thanking you now,
now while I feel it, now when I’m aware
that a half milliliter of prevention
is worth seven pounds of rash free skin.
Thank you for stimulating my T cells.
Thank you for days when I will smooth
my hands across my thighs, my hips,
when I will trail my fingers across my ribs,
for nights when I will slip into soft cotton sheets
and never once think of you.

*

hey friends, I will be camping in the desert the next couple of nights, so no poems for a few days, then I will return with a small desert bouquet

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No Regret




Some moments are flame.
There was a time
I wanted a promise
we would not burn.
Now I give myself to the blaze
knowing the burn
is part of the path,
knowing that matter
dances best
once it’s ash.

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I count all the Tuesdays, Thursdays
and Saturdays from January to mid-July,
all those days in Florida
when you drove an hour
to dialysis and sat there for hours
as the machines removed toxins
and water from your blood,
then drove an hour home.
I multiply that number times
the number of miles and arrive
at a number that means devotion.
Means grit. A number that means
I will live for you as long as I am able.
Remember, Dad, how no matter
how early you had to rise,
no matter how difficult the drive,
no matter how inefficient the process,
you did it. And every time
you thanked the people
who were keeping you alive.
At the end, when you couldn’t stand,
couldn’t sit, couldn’t lift your own arm,
they took you to dialysis on a stretcher.
When they’d move you,
you’d moan in pain, howl, even,
as they twisted your body
in ways it no longer could twist,
and then, with deep humility,
you’d thank the nurses.
Did you ever see them cry, Dad?
I did. I saw them walk out of the room
into the hall and weep,
so grateful to be thanked
for doing the work that hurts.
Two thousand nine hundred ninety miles.
That was the number for six months.
A number that means life is hard and I want it.
A number that says my body is stopping,
but my love grows.
A number that means, Yes, I will meet you, death.
Butnot yet. Not yet.

*
PS–I want to honor that my mom drove my dad many of these times, and many other times in other cities–and she, in such courageous, humble ways, was devoted to dad’s health and healing.

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Let’s say we gathered on the street tomorrow,
and let’s say we met in Kazakhstan
on a windy day near the Caspian Shore,
then I would say to you, as the Kazakhs do,
I see the sun on your back.
It means, Thank you for being you.
It means, I am alive because of your help.
Then I would ask to hug you and probably cry
because it’s everything, what you’ve done for me.
And as you walk away, I would marvel
at the radiance beaming from between your shoulders,
shining down your spine. It’s been so dark, and oh,
how you’ve carried me with your light.

Dear Friends, 

In the past four months, I have felt so supported, loved, blessed, encouraged. Thank you. For any way, big or small, that you supported me and my family–sending cards, lighting candles, saying prayers, reaching out to others who are struggling, and so many other beautiful gestures–I thank you. This poem is for you.
Love, 
Rosemerry

PS: This is the website I stumbled on which is a fun source for international idioms such as the one in this poem.

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New Territory




My grief has inside it a forest, thriving,
evergreens of all ages, each tree grown
from a seed of gratitude, each seed

sown from a kindness, a beauty,
a tender word. Some trees were planted
by strangers, others by beloveds,

and others I planted myself.
See how it is that in these moments
when I think my feet are too leaden

to take another step, the sunlight
will sift through the overstory
and shine a path. Sometimes

the whole walk is just one step,
but one step is all it takes to not
be stuck. There are glades where

song gathers and I can rest, trees
I can climb and find a nest
made of thankfulness large enough

to hold me. I didn’t know
how vast the forest was until
I knew how wide grief can be.

And so I keep planting trees.
I am learning to trust the shade,
to breathe in more deeply

the fragrant air, and despite grief,
because grief, I am learning to walk
deeper in, then deeper.

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Condition





My body, thank you for carrying this ache,
for carrying it not like a burden, but like a baby—

like a gift, like something that will
change you and keep changing you forever.

Of course, you would want to shut down,
to close, to contract,

but I see how the grief grows you.
Though it shreds your sleep,

though it drops you to the floor,
you learn what it is to be a mother.

Through no effort of your own,
you are on board for a miracle.

So big, this invitation to love. Oh body,
you would never ask for this, and yet

you meet this grief every moment.
You find inner doors you never knew were there

and you swing them open, not to rid yourself
of the ache, but to grant it full access,

to know the grief completely,
to let it rewrite you, remake you, rebirth you,

to let it teach you what it means
be alive.

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Thank You




It’s not as if the door can decide:
Open. Closed. Locked. Unhinged.
The door is ever at the mercy
of the hand on the knob,
the shoulder that smashes it,
the wind that abruptly slams it shut,
the smile that swings it wide as noon.
Long ago, I learned every moment
has a door, and that those doors
never open themselves. That is why,
standing here, I am astonished
to see, through no effort of my own,
a door swing open. And how sweet
the surprise when I see
on the other side of the knob,
your hand.

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I want to bring to the doorstep of your heart
a giant bouquet of soft-petalled words,
a lavish bouquet of gratitudes
grown from seed in which each bloom
remembers each time
I watered it, encouraged it,
pulled the weeds from around its stem.
I want to have amended the soil
in which these appreciations grew
with the mycelium of devotion,
the dark compost of love.
It matters, the ways we say thank you.
Those two words disappear from the air
in less than a second,
so is it any wonder, when you
with your love have changed me forever,
that I want to bring you
a whole garden of gratefulnesses
no, a whole field of eternal thank yous
in which every flower is astonishingly open
and the perfume fills
every room in your heart.
 
 

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Strange Wish


 
I would never have wished
for those years when I starved myself,
years when any number on the scale
was a reason to hate my own body.
I would never have wished to be in the room
with the man who didn’t listen
when I said no. I would never
have believed I was capable of weaving lies
that could cause so much hurt,
would never have wanted to break
so completely I walked through the world
like a ghost. And yet I have never been
more grateful for the breaking, the grieving,
the struggling, the loss. I didn’t know how resilient
I was until I was shattered. I didn’t know
how failure would teach me trust. Didn’t know
how pain would open me to feel more compassion,
to fall more in love with the world.
 
It would be a lie to say I am grateful for pain.
But I am grateful for this heart
that contains grief and joy,
grateful for this body that expresses
fear and courage, anger and hope.
Grateful to know myself not only as self
but also as whatever is holding me,
as great space holds the day—
how much bigger the world is now.
 
I would never wish heartbreak on you,
but if it comes, when it comes,
I wish you the gift of holding the heartbreak,
the miracle of opening
beyond what we ever dreamt was possible,
I wish you gratitude for life,
no matter how impossible it is
to say thank you.

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