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Posts Tagged ‘healing’

Oh, the Tenderness




To be touched.
That skin language
of hand and cheek,
arm and shoulder,
that is what
I need. Words,
yes, I love them,
but what has healed me
and held me
and kept me from drought
is a palm on my arm,
a chest where my head
can rest, an embrace
that lasts until my breath
becomes slow tide
and my whole body
leans into the trunk
of the one who is holding me.
I have been held
by near strangers,
held by beloveds,
held by invisible hands.
We are, of course, spirit,
but it is the body
that makes us human,
the body that bears
the grief. To be touched.
It saves me. Each caress,
a ray of light. Each embrace,
a soft rain that seeps
into the soil of the day
and says nothing at all,
but encourages what is still here
to grow, to believe
in green, in spring.

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How the Healing Happens




Again today
I dig with my teaspoon
into the soil
of sorrow.
It is said
there is healing water
somewhere below.

Perhaps I wished
for a shovel.
Perhaps there was
no shovel to be found.
Perhaps I did find a shovel,
but the work was
too heavy, too hard.

It is not hard
to dig one teaspoon
at a time.
Anyone can do it.
The hole gets wider,
deeper. Soon
it feels like a well.
It is easy work.
It’s the hardest work
I’ve ever done.

I thirst.
Yet what heals us
is not only
the promised water.
What heals is
the work itself,
dry and slow,
one spoonful,
and another spoonful,
and another parched spoonful,
and another.

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How the Healing Comes




Healing comes less like a falcon
with mighty wings,
and more like an earthworm
that slowly, slowly moves
beneath it all, tightening up,
then stretching out, tightening up
and stretching out, a simple
two-part rhythm. Some days,
that is all the body can do.
Contract. Expand. Contract. Expand.
In the meantime, through this
artless act, what is dense
becomes porous.
In the meantime, what is stuck
and clotted gets moved around.
What is dead passes through,
is processed by the grit inside.
There are tunnels now in the soil of me,
thin channels of recovery—
a blessed loosening,
a gradual renewal. It’s unhurried, but
I feel the air, the rain,
the life coming in.

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for Paul Fericano and so many others


I turn first to the chapter
on techniques for broken wings.
I learn of contour splints and anchor tape
and reasons why most broken wings
should not be completely immobilized.

I am not so unlike an injured bird.
Struck down by grief, I too, am unable to fly.
Even walking, I find I’m off balance.
I’m best treated without an audience.
I heal best with absolute calm.

I was unsure at first why my friend
would have sent me—along with tea,
chocolate, crackers and sweet biscuits—
a book on “kitchen healing:”
how to treat injured wildlife at home.

But there beneath the image
of a simple wing break, I read,
a sentence like a prophecy:
“Nature starts the healing process
almost as soon as the injury occurs.”

And I feel, to my surprise,
the tender places where the bones
of my wings no longer protrude.
And though my joints are rigid,
with supports, I’m recovering.

And I am thankful for all the hands of friends—
unskilled, untrained, yet willing to try.
Hands that send letters and blankets
and feathers and books. Calm hands
that help heal these fractures until I can fly.


*Quote from Care of the Wild Feathered & Furred: A Guide to Wildlife Handling & Care by Mae Hickman and Maxine Guy (Unity Press, 1973)

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Stubborn

When the brain is separated from the heart, it is capable of doing terrible things to each other and the planet.

—Jane Goodall

And so I try to tend the path each day

between brain and heart.

Whatever smallnesses I trip on,

I try to remember to bow as I remove them.

Whatever weeds try to overrun it—

weeds of should and shame—

I try to yank them out, knowing full well

I never get the whole root.

The more I travel the path,

the easier it is—

though steep sometimes,

and the effort to go on

makes me weep.

And sometimes, it feels unfamiliar,

though I’m sure I’ve travelled this way before.

Frightened, lost, tired, exposed—

yet I try to find and preserve the path.

Because the stakes are too high

when the path is gone.

Because the healing is so great

when I honor the path

step by stubborn step.

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The Burn

I keep a bag of frozen peas

for nights like tonight when

I am clumsy and burn my skin.

I press the cold bag against

the angry red welt and always

I marvel how quickly it helps—

until the bag is taken away.

I would like to be your frozen peas,

want to be what you reach for

when the world burns.

When you wince with hurt,

I would make it feel better,

if only you hold me,

if only you don’t let go.

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Because I cannot be there to hold my father’s hand, 

I walk into my children’s room and hold my daughter and son 

as if love in one room emits a wave strong enough  

to be felt many states away. Because I am afraid, 

I don’t try to pretend I am not. Tears run hot 

down my face and I don’t dam them.   

When they dry, I let them dry. 

Because I am helpless to fix my father’s kidneys, 

I tell him I love him, as if words could help 

filter his blood before returning it to his heart, 

his tender heart.  

Because the helicopter is flying him to Miami, 

the blades of my worry begin to spin. 

Because I can’t stop them, I turn them 

into a giant wing that carries prayers 

into the rooms where I’m not allowed to go. 

And though I’m not there, I hold his hand, 

imagine it heavy in my own. Because maybe 

he can feel it. Because I don’t want him to be alone.  

 

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We all belong to the same galactic oneness.

—Carlos Santana, Master Class

 

 

I could be the doctor who, overwhelmed

in the ER, went home and killed herself.

I could be the sixteen-year-old boy

who had to cover his father with a white sheet

before the coroner arrived.

I could be the white sheet.

I could be the lawmaker unable to sleep,

or her pillow that hears her cry out in fear

when at last the sleep arrives.

I could be the rhythmic hissing of the ventilator

or the wail of the wife, or the weary hum

of the custodian beneath her mask

as she wipes the surfaces clean.

It could be me, the eleventh death

in the town next door to mine.

It could be me, the one who

unknowingly makes you sick

because I don’t know I carry

something deadly inside my breath.

And so I don’t hug you when I see you

across the post office lobby,

though my heart leaps up to hold you.

Because you could be the flat line

on the EKG.

Because you could be number twelve.

 

 

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Pneumonia

 

            —for A

 

 

And if I could, I would breathe for you.

I would inhale and exhale and hold

your breath for you. For you I would

sigh and rant, I would hack and pant,

I would be your lungs if I could. I would

ease this ache, I would carry this pain,

I would take away fear, I would be

the wind, the wild mesa wind,

the late April wind that blows change

into all we thought we knew

and rearranges the meaning of here.

No one could ever speak for you.

But I would breathe for you, friend.

Please, breathe, please keep breathing.

I need you to breathe for you, breathe

for me, please, friend. I wish I could

breathe for you, breathe for you.

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for Kyra

 

February ends with the fragrance of change—

not quite the fresh earthy scent of rain,

but no longer the white sterility of winter.

It’s the damp aroma of long dead grass

and the must of soil as it starts to unfreeze,

the bright tang of Gemini distilled from the sky

and the hint that someday there will be green.

 

This is the perfume I imagine you wearing today

as you move from the darkest hours of fear

into the chapter of healing. Yes, I smell it

as I hug you, the scent of making room for the world,

the scent of resilience, of beauty yet to come.

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