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Posts Tagged ‘nature’

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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Eight Months Later




Sometimes when I’m buying glue
at the hardware store or looking at books
in the library, someone will come and,
with so much love, invite me to dive with them
into the eddies of articulate grief. Or sometimes,
also with love, they’ll say something neutral, like,
“Nice weather,” and I’ll nod, though meanwhile
we wade in thick currents of all that goes unspoken.  
Every day, I leave for a time the world of language.
I walk in the woods or along the red cliffs
where the only conversationalists
are the creek and the squirrel, the crow
and the magpie, the sharp scent of spruce,
and the burgeoning leaves.
I let myself speak only in listening.
The grief listens with me. Hours go by.
Words find us soon enough.

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On a Clear Day


The way the field holds
   the shadow of the cottonwood,
      this is how life holds me.
 
Holds me, no matter my shape.
   Holds me with no effort.
      Holds my darkness and knows it
 
as weightless, as transient,
   as something that will shift,
      disappear, return, and shift again.
 
It never says no to me.
   I am still learning to trust life, to trust
      no matter how I show up, I will be held.
 
Trust that my life is not a problem.
   Trust that as much as I am the shadow,
      I am also the field.

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with a line from “After the Japanese” by Jack Granath
 
 
A warm March day
and the blue sky
slips itself
into the list
of things to do,
and I would have to be
deaf or just plain stubborn
to not hear the call
to play outside—
and damn, but
I’m stubborn,
so the world
sends a bobcat,
a red-tailed hawk
and a whole herd of elk
to the yard.
What’s a busy woman
to do
but surrender?
I don’t.
Head down, I get
the work done.
I put on the blinders
of responsibility
until a poem says to me,
You do the right thing,
citizen, and my chest pounds
in urgent code:
that. means. you.
and I put down
the work and walk
into the day
to do my duty,
which is to meet the world
that will never
send an email,
the world
that will never knock,
will never call,
but will always
say welcome,
citizen, welcome.

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Home


 
 
Even after all these years
of wandering this twisting path of self,
how is it I am still surprised
to find a new home inside the rush of river,
as if I haven’t been here
in this song of melting many times before?
How is it I forgot my home
inside the brittle brown grass of March,
home in the sweet moldering scent of spring,
home in the sun soaked day—
as if the great star of beginnings
is saying again to me, Come, friend.
 
How is it I sometimes forget to arrive
exactly where I am, especially in these days
when forgiveness arrives like the cranes
on great wings that charge the air.
These days when love comes crashing in
like western wind, breaking branches
and rearranging the yard, as if to say
it is here to change everything.
Sometimes I forget the world will find me
wherever I am and insist in the language
of willow and trunk and hawk and noon,
home, home, you are home.

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Concurrent

On a morning

when the snow

falls and drapes

everything in shine,

it is not that I don’t

feel the wounds—

raw and throbbing—

it’s just that it’s

so beautiful,

this tender world,

that I want

to praise it

forever.

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Surrender

 

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Some mornings I wake and the peace

that I tried to find yesterday finds me—

arrives in the open palms of the river scent,

in the erratic path of the warbler,

in the low golden angle of sun as it slants

through the gray knuckled branches of cottonwood trees.

Even the broken watering can seems to bring me

news of what’s been here all along—

the peace that holds up the turmoil, the mess.

And the dried grasses in the field

and the tiny new leaves on the currants

gather me into them. They’re like old friends who say,

It’s okay, make all the mistakes you want

around us. Some mornings, through no effort

of our own, we are gathered into the peace

of the patient lichen and the still pond.

It’s the difference between breathing

and being breathed, between asking for grace

and finding that grace has been asking for us.

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Eadem mutata resurgo

Latin motto: Changed, I rise again

 

 

Sometimes in spring

I can still find the dried seeds

of the mountain mahogany

clinging to the ends

of the branches—

feathery golden spirals,

logarithmic and light.

 

How the universe

loves a pattern,

an elegant mathematics—

this same spiral is found

in spider webs, sunflowers,

snail shells, cyclones, the arms

of galaxies, the human ear,

even in the nerves of my cornea

 

that help me to see

the very pattern that

gives me the ability to see.

I want to find the self-similar spiral curve

that informs kindness and strength

as it spreads through a people. I want

to find the equation that calculates

an exponentially growing radius of love.

I want to find the dynamic beauty in us

 

that amplifies as it moves out

with ever increasing speed

from the infinite center.

I want to embody the trustworthy constant

that inspires our species to be better,

want to know the recursive courage that drives us

to thrive in difficult times.

Our potential, endless, yet humble

as last year’s seed in my hand, ready

to be planted, to sprout, to grow.

 

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From eggs

the size

of small

jelly beans

come these

two beaks

that peak

beyond the

edge—today

they save

me, these

two tiny

wingless things.

Even this

bruised heart

remembers how

to marvel.

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I like my body when I’m in the woods

and I forget my body. I forget that arms,

that legs, that nose. I forget that waist,

that nerve, that skin. And I aspen. I mountain.

I river. I stone. I leaf. I path. I flower.

I like when I evergreen, current and berry.

I like when I mushroom, avalanche, cliff.

And everything is yes then, and everything

new: wild iris, duff, waterfall, dew.

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