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Posts Tagged ‘humility’

Seeing Clearly


Forgive me for wanting to fix you.
As if we could be anything
but who we are.
 
Forgive me for every time
I have looked at you with hawkish eyes,
eyes with talons, eyes that hunt.
 
Forgive me for thinking I know
what you need, for thinking I am right.
For scrutinizing, for judging,
 
for using my gaze to build walls.
I want to look at you with eyes
as soft as the light in the field after dawn.
 
Want to meet you with eyes
as benevolent as rain. Want to see you
with eyes as open as sky, open as innocence.
 
Want to see myself this way, too—
then, it is easier to soften, to lean in, to bloom.
This is how I want to look at you—
 
not with eyes that fix, but eyes
that dismantle defensiveness,
eyes that say let us meet in our flawedness,
 
eyes unstintingly generous,
a gaze that says you are safe with me,
a gaze born of humility, a gaze made of wings.

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And so the boy who would become
the emperor of Rome, the boy
who would one day defeat the Parthian Empire
and rebel Kingdom of Armenia,
the boy who would rule through the Antonine Plague
the boy who would become father of Stoicism—
when that boy learned of the death
of his favorite tutor, he wept and wept,
was a wild and uncontrollable thing.
And his stepfather, the emperor,
refused to let him be comforted
or calmed. “Neither philosophy
nor empire takes away natural feeling,”
he said. Oh, the gift of being given ourselves—
despite teachings, despite expectation,
despite shoulds, despite strength—
the gift to fall deeper into our own humanness,
horrible and beautiful as it is, to know the terrible
blessing of love, oh how it hurts, to know
ourselves as tender beings, to trust how
our love touches everything. Everything.  

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Power to the paradox.
–Jack Mueller

Today you are the cut on the finger
and you also the knife.
You the bandage that wraps the wound.
You the Advil, the ice.

You the sun, and the burn that comes.
You the aloe salve.
You the moon and the absence of moon.
You the children’s laugh.

And you the scent of old dead leaves,
and you the stubborn green.
You the red wine and the empty cup.
The song, the one who sings.

And you the silence between the notes.
You the coat and the chill.
You the uncomfortable anger, the blame,
you the one who sees through.

And you the lines I will never write.
And you the eraser, the lead.
You the peace and you the unrest
the beginning without end.

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Tsuyu no yo wa tsuyu no yo nagara sari nagara

The world of dew —
A world of dew it is indeed,
And yet, and yet . . .
—Issa

Thank you for this world of dew,
for dew enough to fill a cup,
to fill my small cup to brimming,

though some mornings all the dew’s been spilled.
It matters not the hand that spilled it,
though there is a tug toward blame.

In the story, the Hindu master pours the cup
too full, and when the tea begins to spill
the scientists appeal to him in shock.

You are too full, he says to them.
Come back to me when you are empty.
Then we’ll talk.

World, thank you for emptying me.
And thank you for my cup, for this
fragile cup with it’s long thin cracks.

Thank you for my thirst,
this thirst so deep sometimes
I beg for one more sip.

And thank you for these lips
that beg, thank you for the empty cup,
and thank you for the sometimes dew.

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love haiku

you the ocean
I keep trying to measure
with my tea cup

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I bow to the ache of it,
the deep inner eating
away at itself, I bow
to the shivers, the gooseflesh,
the waves of nausea and pain.
I bow to the unnamed,
to question, to dark.
And I bow to the fear
that swells in small spaces
and the vast quiet
that dissipates the fear.
I bow to every other human
who hurts and I bow
to the yellow flowers tonight
blooming in the muck
where the river used to be.
I bow to the ache, goddammit,
I bow to it and I bow
to the reluctance to bow to it,
bow to the longing to shove
it all away, and I bow,
hush now, just bow.

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