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Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

Respiratory

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This morning, after the blizzard,

after the sun came out,

there was a moment when the shadows

of the empty cottonwood trees

patterned the snow like tree-sized lungs—

the trunk was a bronchus,

and the branches, bronchioles

that split into twiggish alveoli.

And the tree seemed to say, Remember.

I often neglect to be grateful

for lungs, for breath—

such a simple, forgettable gift.

But in the dividing silhouette,

I saw into myself, a divine branching,

an inner tree, an invitation

to sit and breathe. Remember, it seemed

to say, and I followed the lines until

they disappeared into the light.

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Gratitude

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Gratitude, it happens,

needs less room to grow

than one might think—

is able to find purchase

on even the slenderest

of ledges, is able

to seed itself

in even the poorest of soils.

 

Just today, I marveled

as a small gratitude

took root

in the desert of me—

like a juniper tree

growing out of red rock.

 

If I hadn’t felt it myself,

I might not

have believed it—

but it’s true,

one small thankfulness

can slip into an arid despair

and with it comes

a change in the inner landscape,

the scent of evergreen.

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And when fear comes to the door bringing flowers

acting as if it’s a friend,

it’s okay to not want to let it in.

It’s okay to lock the door—

it’ll make you feel as if you’re doing something.

Fear will enter anyway.

At least it won’t expect a hug.

It won’t wash its hands,

not even when you ask nicely.

And it is more contagious than any virus—

spreads without sneezes or coughs.

It won’t leave when you ask, but

there are ways to make it quieter—

like inviting a few others to join you,

preferably gratitude, compassion, love,

kindness, vulnerability. These friends

always come when asked, wearing

the loveliest perfume. They change

the conversation, the way lemon

and honey change the bitter tea.

They remind you who you are,

invite you to look out the window

and see how beautiful the world

when the shadows are long.

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Les Jardins de Mérida

 

for Colette and Bob

 

 

Tonight I wear gratitude

like perfume made of jasmine

and violet. Wear it

on my neck, my forearms,

in my hair, on my wrists.

If I could, I would find

the poem’s pulse points

and spritz it here, too,

so that as the poem warms,

it would release its greener

middle notes of basil and rose

so you might enjoy them, too.

 

Gratitude, like perfume,

changes the longer you wear it—

you think it is one thing,

but then it opens in new layers

and eventually, becomes one with the skin.

Only then does it reveal

its lingering base—in this case

vanilla and cedar,

creamy and sensual.

 

To wear gratitude is

like slipping into a long

and silken robe. Like sitting

beside a fire made by people you love.

Like walking alone in the house,

and knowing for certain

you’re not at all alone.

 

 

 

 

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I woke up giddy, because

on rising, there was still

a world. Snow out the window,

and a window! And a cover

on the bed. And a bed!

And a body that ached

from the fall in the trees,

but dang, I had a body.

And it woke up! And yeah,

there is work to do, lots

and lots of work to do,

and love to make and

messes to clean, and

yes, here we are to do it.

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Darn Lucky

 

 

 

It happens, you know—the day opens itself

like a tulip in a warm room, and you meet someone

who amazes you with their willingness

to be a thousand percent alive, someone

who makes you feel grateful to be you.

 

And it’s as if life has been keeping a beautiful

secret from you—like the fact that they make

elderberry flowers into wine. Like muscadine.

Like the yellow-green floral scent of quince.

Like the perfect knot for tying your shoes.

 

And it turns out life does have wonderful

secrets waiting for you. Even when the news

makes you cry. Even when some old pain returns,

that’s when you will meet this new friend.

Someone wholly themselves. Someone

 

who makes you smile in the kitchen, a smile so real

that when you go out, the whole world notices.

It’s enough to make you want to wake up in the morning.

To go into the day. To be unguarded as a tulip, petals

falling open. You never know who you might meet.

 

 

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I am thrilled to have a poem again on Gratefulness.org, a site devoted to generosity of spirit and gratitude. This poem explores how gratitude brings us into wholeness and connection:

Translation

 

 

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One Gratitude

 

 

 

this eager heart—

in a stuffy room, suddenly

the windows flung wide

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Perhaps that is when Thanksgiving

matters most—when you

walk the empty street alone,

scarred and scared and unsure.

That’s when giving thanks

becomes less of an abstract and more

like the way to take a next breath—

something that seems elusive, but

in fact it’s essential, and it’s right there,

just waiting for you to meet it,

to open yourself, to let it in.

Yes, for now it feels worthy of thanks

that the air is cool and clean and feels

good in the lungs, and the feet know

to walk you closer toward yourself

and the day holds you, holds you

in its soft gray arms, throws

a carpet of dry leaves at your feet,

suggests you keep walking into your life.

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Small Gratitudes

 

 

 

It was one of those days when the alarm

didn’t go off, and we woke anyway

to a world covered in snow, and

 

by noon the sky was blue. And I drove

right through the construction zone

without being stopped by a flagger.

 

The tomato for breakfast was ripe

and sharp and sweet. And the tea

was strong and black. The radio

 

played only songs I wanted to sing.

My car started. I had no flat tires.

I never felt sick. Never fell. More blessings,

 

it turns out, than a woman can count, though

I try to count them all. And the more

I remember—a good friend called, all

 

ten fingers are intact, my eyes still

see across the room—yes,

the more blessings I consider, the more

 

my joy grows until I am dumbfounded,

gobsmacked by gratitude that’s exactly

the size of the known universe, amazed by

 

how perfectly it fits—as if I were made for this—

right inside my skin.

 

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