Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

One for My Death




and when I die

let me bleed words

and let all of them

be thank you

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No matter how difficult the world may be, how hostile, how ferocious, there is always the invitation for gratitude. Thank you to Gratefulness.org, a site devoted to finding and sharing what’s right in the world, who today posted this poem of mine about finding this invitation–Obeying the Impulse

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walking four blocks with my mother,

every step an arrival,

every step a reason to praise

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I know it’s your job, to monitor the heart rate as it rises, the blood pressure as it falls. I know the gray-haired woman in the bed is another set of numbers with a name you’ll forget. She’s my mother. She grows tomatoes on her porch and has a song to sing for every occasion. She loves side stroke and chocolate and Japanese art. She makes the best poached eggs, and she knows exactly how to scratch my head to lull me to sleep. I know it’s your job to find the clot. To bathe the wound. To ease the pain. Thank you. Thank you for your hands as they slip the needle into her arms, the arms that gather me when frightened or cold. Thank you for your feet as they run down the halls to examine her heart, her heart that holds so many. Thank you for your art as you puzzle the why of her body, her body that knows itself as a vessel for love and prayer. She is praying for you, even now, as I do, and though you are just doing your job, thank you.

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Two Marvelings




just another full moon rise—

is it any wonder

I can’t stop bowing?




how, I said,

to the river bed

do you make

of yourself a home?

I let the flow shape me,

the river bed said—

flood, current,

shimmer, stone

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Right Here



I realized I was yearning for more than the riches the blessing of the day had brought.

            —Alan Cohen, “Visitations”




Give me the napkins with stains on them,

the ones we’ve used for seven years.

Give me the butter dish with the broken lid,

the sound of my husband lightly snoring

on the couch with the missing buttons,

and the wild laughter of children

so loud I cannot hear the woman

on the other end of the phone.

Give me these wrinkles, this gray,

this softness I used to despise.

Give me exactly this life

that I have, wealthy with messes

I have helped to create, so rich

with nitty-gritties

that some nights I forget

that somewhere there’s a clean,

quiet, unbroken world

I once thought

I wanted to be part of.




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I wish every one of you a day, a whole lifetime of giving thanks. Here’s a poem from a few months back published online today in Telluride Inside about radical gratitude, the kind that just rises on its own, no matter what … Autumnal


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Past the grave of the baby girl,

past the grave of the beloved mother—

“we loved her,” it says in italic letters—

and past the grave with my birthday on it,

we find a tombstone greened in moss

with its names and dates long since lost.

The grass has nearly reclaimed the stone,

and we sit here together and talk for hours,

joyful expressions of dust as we laugh

and cry and remember just why

it is so damn sweet to be alive, to practice

what it means to love in the face of our impermanence.

All the leaves have left for the year,

but look at what remains—the chance

for sudden, immeasurable bliss

no matter what the season is.

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Some things do not easily
leave the sea.
In an instant they shift
from buoyant grace
to cumbersome weight.

Remember that night
we stood beside the surf
and the whole wet world
stretched shining before us?

We wrestled the wave runner
onto the trailer, and I
felt some kinship with
those first prehistoric fish
who dragged their lobe fins
onto the beach, those fish
who, driven by what?
struggled up and out
and learned a new way to move,
a new way to breathe,
grew a new kind of skin
and a new kind of spine.

For a moment, tugging
on the wet rope,
I knew it, some hint of the drive
bred into my body
over the past four hundred
million years. How I gasped
at the gift of it all—these
legs, these lungs, this upright head,
these biceps burning
against the burden
of emergence, the glitter
of light as it leaves, the scent
of honest sweat.

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There is no way to know

what we’ll find beneath

the yellowing leaves.

And always I forget

which varieties I’ve planted

and where. And so, when

the Finnish fingerlings appear

just below the surface,

I thrill in their golden

skin and knobby shapes,

and when the dark purple

potatoes emerge from the depths

of the garden bed,

by then, I am already kneeling,

but something inside kneels, too—

oh the russet and red-skinned

and pink-fleshed miracle of it all,

the sheer delight

of running my fingers

through the dirt and

pulling out potatoes,

each one somehow

a surprise, a small reminder

of how beautifully

the world can work,

how the darkness

nourishes such incredible

gifts. Ten hours since

I left the garden, and

whatever inside me knew to kneel

is still enthralled in prayer.

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