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Posts Tagged ‘growth’

 

 

Sorrow is how we learn to love.

—Rita Mae Brown, Riding Shotgun

 

 

If sorrow is how we learn to love,

then let us learn.

Already enough sorrow’s been sown

for whole continents to erupt

into astonishing tenderness.

Let us learn. Let compassion grow rampant,

like sunflowers along the highway.

Let each act of kindness replant itself

into acres and acres of widespread devotion.

Let us choose love as if our lives depend on it.

The sorrow is great. Let us learn to love greater—

riotous love, expansive love,

love so rooted, so common

we almost forget

the world could look any other way.

 

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Whatever it is inside the larkspur

that says grow, grow, grow,

I want to know it, too. Want

to obey the voice that urges me on,

even in frost, even in rain.

I want to rise out of my own dried debris,

want to know how it is to die and return,

new and yet somehow the same.

 

And what is it that fuels the drive?

I want to know that— the divine

encouragement that knows

when to wait, when to push,

when to wilt, when to flourish,

when to swell into oh! bright bloom.

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My daughter plants nasturtium seeds, 

two per hole, four inches apart. 

 

Meanwhile, two rows away, I drop carrot seeds 

four to the inch, into the soft dark soil.  

 

Oh, the secrets of dirt, this kingdom 

of earth with its cool and damp quiet— 

 

how quickly its finite borders pull me 

into the infinite. What joy to travel here 

 

with my girl, though she is hesitant traveler.  

One could say the main thing we did today  

 

was measuring—how deep, how many seeds, 

how far apart. Perhaps. When we finish, it will look 

 

the same as when we began. But 

I look at my daughter across the rows, 

 

humming with her hands in the dirt 

and I see already in her the fiery petals,  

 

the peltate leaves like green flags  

that know how to play with the wind.  

 

 

 

 

 

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Last summer’s grass still stands in the field,

dry and fringe-like. It shushes against my thighs

as I walk. How is it still upright? After the weight

of last year’s snow? How has it not fallen, decayed?

 

Though I can break the brittle stems in my fingers,

it bends in the wind, more resilient than I could imagine.

 

What inside me is dead, yet still standing?

What old thoughts, their seeds long gone,

are filling the fields of imagination?

 

The new grass already is emerging into spring.

Soft. Deep green. Unable to be bent or broken,

its scent sweet and sharp in the nose.

 

Let me find in me this freshness, this new growth,

this willingness to push up through what’s dead.

Let me roll in it like a dog, till I come up stained green—

green thoughts. Green words. Green wonder.

Green learning what it is to be green.

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Big

 

 

This is, perhaps, the year to learn to be big.

Spruce tree big. Cliffside big. Big as mesa,

as mountain lake. Big as in cosmos, as in love.

Being small has never served me—constricting,

contorting, trying to fit into a room, into shoes,

into a name. Let this be the year to escape all those little

rules with those little shoulds, all those little

cages with their little locks. Time to make of myself

a key, time to lean into immensity. Time to supersize

communion, time to grow beyond self. Time to

open, to unwall, to do as the universe does,

accelerating as it expands, not rushing toward

something else, but changing the scale of space itself.

 

 

 

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The broccoli was a disappointment this year—

planted from seed, it had finally begun to sport

small knobby green heads when the frost came.

And though the broccoli didn’t die, it stalled.

Perhaps I fear I am like this broccoli—destined

to grow but never to fruit. Perhaps this is why

I feel such urgency, this need to write faster,

heal quicker, mature sooner, love more. Because

what if the freeze comes? What if I die before

doing what I have come here to do?

 

There is a part of me who is patient. A part of me

who says, Sweet One, you could not possibly be

any more you than you are right now. She tells me,

You are exactly enough. And sometimes I believe her.

But sometimes I roll my eyes at her and tell myself,

Hurry up, hurry up. I know myself as barren stalk.

I try to will my own ripening. Not once has it worked,

not once, and still this strange drive:

go faster, do it better, do it now.

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Sometimes, she said, being uncomfortable

is what we need to do.

 

And I think of the scald of hot water,

how it cleans the stain.

 

How being covered in abrasive fuzz

is the only way to harvest the peach.

 

How the seed is carried by the burr.

It is human to seek pleasure, shun pain.

 

But think of the tree, how it lets

the gale rip away what is dead.

 

And the grape, how it bubbles

and foams before it becomes wine.

 

And the cactus, how it needs the drought

as much as it needs the rain.

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One Almost 5’10

 

 

 

the tree I planted

now taller than I—

my empty hand

still remembering

the weight of the acorn

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More and more, I have come to admire resilience.

            —Jane Hirshfield, “Optimism”

 

 

And when the snap peas ran out of fence to climb,

they created a living trellis of leaf and vine

and climbed up themselves, winding

and twisting toward the sun—

there’s green inside your limbs.

There’s braiding to be done.

 

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One Stretch

 

 

 

it is not the shadows

that shape us, but the reaching

toward the light

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