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Posts Tagged ‘night’

September Night




The mountain air forgets to be cold,
and my daughter and I walk in the dark
beside the river. I almost can’t see,
yet thanks to starlight,
we step over roots, over rocks.
There are moments,
even whole chapters of our lives,
when we understand how the smallest
bit of light makes a difference.  
Tonight, we are laughing,
singing as we go.
Trust, too, is a kind of light.
In this dark moment, it is all I see.

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Night Walk


            for Lara and the Dark


Some conversations prefer the dark,
so, long after sundown we walk
in the nearby field
where a wide path’s been cut
through tall grass gone to seed
and there’s just enough starlight
to make out the twin dirt ruts
where we can walk side by side.
I love conversing this way,
when the dark is less a setting
and more a partner in conversation—
as if nothing we say
could ever make it stop holding us,
as if it will listen for as long as we speak,
as if it will fill in any gaps
with its own simple syntax
of infinite ink. And so we walk,
you, me, and the gentle dark.
When we finally return to the light-warm home,
a little midnight comes in with us
and joins us for sleepytime tea.
It seems to know not even a whisper is needed,
just the certainty that we are being heard,
truly heard, the way
only an old best friend can listen,
and there’s nothing we can’t say.

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inspired by “The Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh and the piano composition by Kayleen Asbo by the same name

Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough.
―George Washington Carver


You teach us how to meet the night,
the quiet shadowed pools of night,
the night outside the glow of home,
the night beyond the sleep-warm bed.

You teach us how to fall in love with night,
the violet night, deep fields of night,
the swirling, churning curves of night,
the whirling, sweeping waves of night—

and oh the stars in their spiraling
you share their gold and pink and green,
a twinkling, a burst of shine,
a firmament in which to dream—

but there’s no way to see stars
if you don’t first befriend the dark.
You teach us how to love the dark,
the verdant, fertile wholesome dark.

Oh, to love what frightens us—
to meet dark with curiousness,
Though it’s mighty, tumultuous,
you teach us the dark is generous.

Vincent, you didn’t paint your asylum’s window bars.
You showed us only night. And stars.

*

My dear friend composer/pianist/historian Kayleen Asbo and I want to offer you the video recording of our hour-long conversation about Vincent Van Gogh, loss and The Art of Creative Collaboration– click here.This project has been such an important part for each of us in holding on to hope and beauty during a dark and challenging time. If it speaks to a part of your own aching soul and you want to share it, you have our blessing to forward it to whomever you wish.

If you want to offer a donation in support of our work so that we can professionally record our project in both audio and video format, click here for our Go Fund Me account. And we have an anonymous donor who will match all funds donated before July 30! 

If you want to engage in the full collaboration–Vincent’s paintings, Kayleen’s music, and my poems–I hope you will join us in “Love Letters to Vincent” on July 29, the day Vincent died, at 11 a.m. mountain time. We will present the entire collaboration, sending love letters back in time to honor this man who changed the way we see beauty. There will also be a chance to participate in a group creative activity, responding to his work, creating a giant love letter for Vincent. Sliding scale. It will be recorded and sent to all who register.

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I want to listen to your absence
the way I listen to the night—
the way the dark somehow
invites a deeper listening.
I want to hear, for instance,
the way silence fills in
where your voice has been,
or the way the room seems to know itself
by the pound of missing footsteps,
and in this way, I find you
where I cannot find you.
I am thinking of how the night opens up
between the calls of the owl
and how I listen in that interval
not only with my ears, but with my skin.
I want to listen for you with my lungs—
as if every breath is attentive
to the syllables of grief, of love.
I want my heart to angle in
to hear what the silence has to say.
I don’t want to hear what I most want to hear—
I want to hear what is really here.
I want to listen and learn from the listening.
I want to hear what is true.
I want to listen into your absence
and lean into it the way I lean into the night—
something so much larger than me,
something familiar and always new,
something so present, yet unable to be touched.
Something I am still learning to love.

*

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Communion

Now, when I am alone
I am never alone. I walk
outside or get in my car
and reflexively say hello
to my beloveds no longer here,
calling them by name.
I love to say their names—
like singing a favorite song.
I love to tell them about
the bald eagles this morning
carving the sky above the river,
about the carrot soup
I will make for dinner,
about how my ears, my mind
and my arms miss their voices,
their opinions, their touch.
During the day, they are
my shadows, always
attached, but silent.
During the night, when
I am part shadow,
they welcome me
deeper into the night.

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In Those Quiet Hours




For two weeks after he died,
I’d fall asleep exhausted
only to wake just past midnight.
Desperate, I’d claw at sleep,
frantic to catch it and clutch it,
but always it slipped my grasp
and I’d lie awake till morning.

My friend suggested
I reframe those sleepless hours
as a sacred time, an intimate,
personal quiet time. Not a problem.
Not something to be treated.
Not something to be feared.
That night, as I emerged from sleep,
dreams dripping from me like water,
I did not resist the waking.
Instead, eyes closed, heart open,
still lying in bed, I said,
I love you, Finn. I miss you, sweetheart.
And woke on the shore of morning.
Ever since, it happens just like this—
when I slip from sleep,
I tell my son I love him
and slide unknowingly
back into the tide of dreams.

How many hundreds of times
when he was young, did I go to him
when he cried out in the night?
I’d press my palms against his chest  
until his breath was a skiff for dreams.

Years later, though I can’t feel his hands,
though I don’t hear the lullaby of his breath,
somehow he arrives to comfort me.
And though I don’t hear him say
the words I’d always say to him,
I feel them float above me like a blanket,
warm in the cool night air—
Shhh. I’m here. It’s okay. I’m here.

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One Inner Bonfire




they invite
new ways of making light—
these longest nights

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Choosing




It’s not the meteor shower
with its wild arcs of light
that unzip the velvet dark—
what moves me is the one star
that manages to shine
through the thick atmosphere,
a lone light in this giant dome,
not more than a speck,
yet it persists, constant.
There are many ways to shine,
it seems to say, its tiny glint
winking against midnight.
And the dark is deep and long.

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Sitting in the Dark

tree crickets so loud
I grow smaller
until all that’s left
of me is
hum

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Why I Stay Up Late




So gently the darkness
curls around the world,
first dusky, then dim,
then lushly black—
so generous, the way
it thickly spreads
the softest of songs
until silence silks
the empty streets
and velvets the vacant rooms—
even this riotous heart
inclines toward quietude

and whatever part of me
that knows something yawns
and the part of me
who falls in love
with mystery
leans more easily
into the ever-unknown

and I meet the starry
grand embrace,
speck that I am,
and marvel
at my insignificance,
marvel at how enormous
it is, this openness,
this gratitude.

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