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Posts Tagged ‘joy’

Small Stuff




It can be so small, what saves me.
   Like the crow that arrives every day
     in the same green spot in the yard.
Like the baby bunny that lives
   beneath our porch who locks eyes
     with me every morning.
Like skinny dipping with Corinne
   in a frigid alpine lake. Bite of radish
     just picked from the garden.
Scent of wild roses on the trail.
   It does not make sense that pleasures
     so small could somehow stand up
to a ransacked heart, and yet
   when I hear the whir of hummingbird wings
     or see the tiny purple of a Lady Slipper
rising out of the dirt,
   I notice the dogged joy in me,
     how it glimmers against the dark
like the shooting star I saw tonight,
   long and brilliant and red,
     or like the owl in the spruce trees
that with only a handful
   of low and sonorous notes,
     redefines the night with song.

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Contact Joy




He cleans the base of the skis
with a fine, steel brush to remove
the old wax, his body swaying
above the ski, tip to tail, tip to tail,
so the micro hairs on the base
will lay down in the direction of travel
on snow. A fine copper brush
cleans it more. His movements
are quick, precise, a dance
that now comes naturally.
The only music is the sound
of the brushes, the sound
of his breath. There is no
laughter, no joking,
not even a smile, but
sometimes on winter nights
I walk toward the light
in the garage and watch
his body intent on its work,
and I feel the quiet joy
he finds in preparation
and the work of foundation,
and his joy seeps into me,
soft as the darkness
that holds the garage,
deep as the space
that holds us all.

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I want a word that means
   okay and not okay,
     a word that means
devastated and stunned with joy.
   I want the word that says
     I feel it all all at once.
The heart is not like a songbird
   singing only one note at a time,
     more like a Tuvan throat singer
able to sing both a drone
   and simultaneously
     two or three harmonics high above it—
a sound, the Tuvans say,
   that gives the impression
     of wind swirling among rocks.
The heart understands the swirl,
   how the churning of opposite feelings
     weaves through us like an insistent breeze
leads us wordlessly deeper into ourselves,
   blesses us with paradox
     so we might walk more openly
into this world so rife with devastation,
   this world so ripe with joy.


*

by the way, friends, if you are aware of a word in another language that means okay/not okay, gosh, I would love to know it

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Pickling


 
 
For hours we stand in the kitchen
and slice cucumbers, peel garlic,
prepare the brine. There is joy
in preserving what is wonderful,
in letting the self believe in a future
when we will pull the jar from the shelf
and remember what it was like
this summer day—as if we could also
fit into the jar the laughter, the pink
of the zinnias up to our waist,
the chickadee song and the warm,
warm nights. To be present
does not mean to ignore the future—
but oh, as we prepare, such joy
in singing along to an old favorite song
on the radio, scent of dill in the air,
summer still unfolding in the yard,
in the jars, in our joy.  
 
 

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Latent

Riding our bikes through the warm summer night,
the dark itself parted to let us pass;
wind in our hair, soft whir of the wheels—
and an almost irrational joy grew in me then,
such simple joy, as if joy were always here,
waiting to flourish, needing only to be noticed.
 
And is joy latent in everything?
I have felt it sometimes in the washing
of dishes, in mowing the lawn,
in peeling the carrots, even washing
the fishtank and scrubbing the floor.
 
So could it be, too, inside worried pacing?
In envy? In sighing? In the clenching of fists?
Is there joy where I can’t imagine it?
Joy—waiting to spin like a wheel,
waiting to rise like laughter
that careens through the deepening dark.

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Strange Balance


 
 
When the boy is sneering
or the glass is breaking
or the woman is weeping
or the streets are crowded
with anger and rage,
it is hard to believe
a small joy
has any real value,
hard to believe
a single red gerber daisy
or a cup of grapefruit-scented tea
might have any relevance,
could bear any weight on the scale
that measures what it is to be alive,
but last night, while I was steeping
in worry, aching with injustice,
my daughter created a stage
between the threadbare couches
and hummed herself a soundtrack
as she leapt and spun
and shuffled and flapped,
and oh, how her brief flare of joy
changed the flavor of the night,
an improbable balance,
the way even the smallest amount of sugar
transforms the bitter sauce,
the way just one note
resolves a minor chord,
the way the barest hint of rain
makes the whole desert
erupt into bloom.
 
 

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Getting Ready

What might you need to let go of or “clean out” in order to make room for wonder or joy?

—Kayleen Asbo, Advent and the Arts: The Week of Hope

Just today I walked

in the shadows

and noticed how

they scrubbed me

the way silence sometimes

scrubs a room.

Wonder rushed in.

It wasn’t that I was trying

to keep wonder out,

it’s just that with my schedule

and rigor, I hadn’t left it

space to enter.

If only with mop

and broom I could sweep

out anything

that would keep me

from wonder, from joy.

Instead, the world offers

shadow, stillness,

quietude, loss,

and a red-tailed hawk

in the heart,

circling, circling,

wondering what

it might subtract next.

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Perhaps we stumbled

on the words, perhaps

we forgot a note,

forgot a bridge,

bumbled our entrances,

fumbled our parts,

but we sang, oh yes,

we sang into the low golden light

of summer, sang

because joy, because

harmony, sang because

lonely, because fear,

sang because, tears

spilling down our cheeks,

we could sing, oh friends,

before we said goodbye,

we could sing.

 

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Right down the middle of main street

the woman with the long red braids

and fairy wings strapped to her back

rode a unicycle more than two times

taller than she was—rode it with balance

and grace, her arms stretched out,

as if swimming through gravity,

as if embracing space—her smile an invitation

to join in her bliss. How simple it is, really,

to make of ourselves a gate. To swing open

to the joy that is. To give others the key.

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One Art

 

for Sherry

 

 

in a time of thorns

finding the smallest joy—

making a room in it

big enough

we can all slip in

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