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Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

 

 

 

From a brown envelope sent by Amazon,

I pull out Bread and Miracles, a book

of poems I’ve admired for years.

I wrote the author long ago

to tell her I love her poems,

the way she makes devotion

of earthworms and camas lilies.

But there is no way to explain why

her words arrive here in my own kitchen

except through some miracle, which is,

I suppose, another name for kindness.

 

Whoever you are, sweet sender

of poems, thank you. Thank you

for knowing exactly what book

I might like to receive, though

I’ve never told anyone. Thank you

for knowing there would be a day

when a dear man died and I would need

to remember that goodness thrives,

that generosity flourishes, that

there are people out there who,

out of pure benevolence,

extend themselves to others.

 

There is a fairy tale in which

bread crumbs are insufficient to save

a brother and sister. But they are saving

this woman, and though I don’t know

where the trail began, I follow it forward

saying thank you, thank you, thank you.

 

 

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I fell in love, today, with the black

and blue marker stains on the table

made by the two-year-old boy—

he colored in the circles he’d drawn

with so much enthusiasm that the ink

seeped through the paper

and into the lemon cream paint on the table

where no amount of scrubbing could remove it.

 

It wasn’t so much the stain though, no,

and it wasn’t the color. What I fell in love with

was the way his mother didn’t see

that the table was ruined. She saw

that he did such a fine, precise job,

that he took so much pleasure in the coloring.

And when I apologized for bringing markers

that didn’t easily wash, she looked at me

with so much surrender and said,

“On a day like today,

who could worry about a table?”

 

It was yesterday they found the dog

waiting beside the car.

It was this morning the skier’s body was found

in a massive snow slide.

It was all day, through the stupor of loss,

I fell in love with the shape of empty branches,

the scent of black tea, the sound

of my son’s voice, fell in love

with the grace in the way my friend shrugged

when she saw the table, the way she hugged

her son. She offered me chocolate from London.

We ate the squares slowly. All day the gray edge

of grief made every little thing

more precious, more sweet.

 

 

 

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for Sherry Richert Belul

 

 

With a LOVE stamp, the woman I’ve never met

mailed me five dollars, “to be a reminder

that abundance can come unexpectedly,”

 

she wrote, and sitting with her letter in my lap,

I thought of last night’s snow—

five white inches that fell after midnight

 

and softened the whole hard world.

And I thought of the orchid on my mantle

that sprouted a new stem of purple buds

 

even as the other stem continued to bloom.

And I thought of my office mate bringing in

nine tins of exotic teas to share. And my daughter

 

sending me a text to say she loved me “soooo much.”

And I thought of a woman in a town a thousand

miles away, a woman I have never met,

 

who thought, “I think I’ll send five dollars

to someone who brought abundance into my life.”

How simple it is to manifest unforeseen joy.

 

How clear the invitation to extend gratitude,

to spread good will, to remind each other

how the world will offer itself, will open

 

and open and open, how we, ourselves,

are the agents of the world.

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stepping into your heart

surprised to find a large empty chair

with my name on it—

in the dust, I write thank you,

then curl in

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Practice

 

 

To be grateful not only for flower,

but also for mud, grime,

slug, slime, the dingy,

the filthy, the tired,

to be grateful not only for star

but also for what is prickly, thornsome,

tricky, testy, sore,

to be grateful not only for warmth

but also for the cold that holds it,

the chill, the bite, the nip, the freeze,

the breeze that blows always head on.

To not only say thanks, but live it.

To not only know thanks, but give it.

 

 

 

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Today I woke in the dark and was busy

making lunches during the sunrise,

though surely it happened. And I drove

 

in the low morning light along

the San Miguel River for half an hour,

not once noticing the color of the water,

 

the scent on the banks, though past

experience leads me to believe

that there were thousands, millions,

 

of tiny beautiful miracles happening

there in that half hour alone. How much

beauty is lost on me every day, every moment?

 

Though as I stepped out of the car

to walk into work, I saw, stuck to my boot, one

brilliant orange aspen leaf outlined in gold,

 

and for a whole minute, I stared at it,

marveled at its symmetrical veins,

its delicate stem, the astonishing intricacy

 

of its edges. How easily gloriousness finds us, sticks

to us even. How wholly available, this art

of meeting the glittering, luminous world.

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You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.

            —Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

 

 

And though the leaves blush golden and red

and though the sun cups my face like a hand

and though the chill air makes me catch my breath

 

the wind whispers, friend, remember your death.

And I feel so deeply, so wildly alive

as I climb the hill, slight burn in my thighs

 

but I cannot pretend I am deaf

as the wind whispers soft, remember your death.

The Roman generals had their slaves

 

whisper to them in their moments of greatness,

remember your death—even as the crowds cheered—

to help them remember be humble, be here.

 

And the wind whispers yes, whispers yes to me.

And reminds me to take each step gratefully.

Remember your death, it says. Live now.

 

And with every step, though I don’t know to whom,

I say thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

 

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One Gratitude

 

 

sending the world

a giant thank you note—

whisper on the back porch

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it was never meant to last,

this life, though we tell ourselves

we’re different, though we tell

ourselves we matter. But the planet

is patient. And the sky is older than that.

The bones in the exhibit hall are proof.

 

Still, as I drive the seven hours to home,

I am careful to stay in my lane,

careful to miss the dead lump of what once

was a bird, to use my turn signal,

to wave thanks at the truck driver

who let me into the flow.

 

It may not go on forever, but

for now there is this chance

to learn about communion.

There is this chance

to see just how generous

we can be with these drying bones.

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I decided to take

the invitation seriously.

Nothing changed.

I made breakfast.

Went to work.

Walked.

Made a date

to speak with a friend.

Swore at the magpie

that dive bombed

my head. Ate popcorn

for lunch.

Made plans

for four months from now.

Took vitamins.

Drank green tea.

Watered the seeds

planted yesterday.

Talked to the seeds,

encouraged them to grow.

Read a book, stopped

at the penultimate chapter.

Some things are better

left unfinished.

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