Posts Tagged ‘nothing’

Eternity in an Hour

            with gratefulness to Joi Sharp
Not just to know the self
but to know the nothing
that surrounds it, to feel
how vast that nothing is,
how inside that nothing
is more nothing, and
inside that more nothing
is even more nothing.
To know that. To feel
the self held by infinite
nothing, to feel the nothing
held by the self. How quiet
everything is then. How
easy it is to believe
peace is not only possible,
it is already here. How
beautiful to meet this
truth with another.
Sweet paradox: imbued
with all this lavish nothing,
the moment overspills
with love. It’s everything.
(title from “Auguries of Innocence” by William Blake)

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how threadbare these thoughts
I’ve chosen to wear every day—
replacing them with nothing

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            for Wendy

Tonight, the poet with the tendrilled hair
asks us to fill in the blank.
The most important relationship
you cultivate in your life is with _________.
One person says, Love. Says another, Yourself.
And long after the question is gone
from the air, long after the conversation’s
moved on, I think about ways
to fill it in. With time. Mortality.
Uncertainty. Peace. And ultimately,
with nothing. How beautiful
to let what is blank stay blank,
a space holder for pure potential.
What if our relationship with nothing
is the most important relationship we have?
I notice how she never fills in the blank herself.
Now everything is possible.

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for “the lucky buyer” who “went home with a certificate of authenticity” for an “immaterial sculpture” by Salvatore Garau

What could be more valuable
than nothing? The nothing that
frames “The Thinker,” the nothing
that holds every bowl,
every vase, every bust, every thought.
Let others buy the clay, the steel,
the papier-mâché. I will be satisfied
with nothing more than nothing.
Nothing pleases me. Nothing
enchants me. Nothing,
as Heisenberg says,
has a weight. Just think
of the space here beside me
where you are not.
If someone asks me why
I have a five-by-five-foot
empty space taped off in my home
with a plaque that says I Am,
it is because I am so in love
with nothing. Imagine it—
nothing, the color of happiness,
nothing, the size of love,
nothing, the shape of god.

This poem was published in Rattle’s Poet’s Respond on June 13, 2021

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With its tiny claw chisel
Thursday has chipped
and carved, made cross hatches
and striations in who I thought I was
on Wednesday. Every day
there is less of me, and
every day I am fashioned
more into who I am, this
diminishing work in progress
in which the sculptor never
stops—once I thought
it would take forever to make
me, now there’s so little
left of the block I understand
that only what is not here
will be forever.

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer970-729-1838 wordwoman.com
Watch my TEDx talk The Art of Changing Metaphors: TEDX Rosemerry Trommer

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written at the Carmelite Monastery in Crestone, CO

It holds everything, silence,

offers itself as a blank staff

on which every song is written—

the tiny hymn of insect wings,

the baritone of the jet as it flies

from one measure of sky to the next,

the dry requiem of rustling grass,

the emphatic chorus of crow.

How generous, silence,

am I willing to know it?

How it includes even the cough,

the belch, retching, the wailing,

the snarl, the scream, the shatter,

and scores these in concert with the hum,

the lush purr, the whisper of the lover,

the ecstatic tremulo of sigh.

There is no sound it refuses to hold.

Its patience is infinite.

So when we, like weary pilgrims,

tired of hearing the percussion

of our own footsteps, arrive at its doors,

silence receives us, welcomes us home.

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And do nothing, she says.

I think about that as

I shuffle the kids and

make doctor appointments

and edit the pages and


drop off the gifts and reply

to emails and shovel the drive

and read to my daughter

and peel the carrots

and hang up the coats


and all that time, I imagine

sitting for five minutes.

Doing nothing.

Yeah, I should add that

to my list, I think,


as I open the cat food

and stack the bowls.

And there, on the shelf,

between the bowls

and the salad plates,


I feel the nothing

waiting for me, feel

its infinite patience,

feel how it is always here

supporting all this everything.


How generous it is,

I think, suddenly unable

to feel anything

but a longing for nothing,

a longing that lasts at least


fourteen seconds

before I remember

that call I am supposed

to make, that plant desperate

for a drink.

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In the secret temple of my heart

was an altar

with nothing on it—

I love nothing,

the pure potential

of it. Sometimes when others

journeyed here, I sensed

they were surprised,

perhaps even sorry for me,

as if it would better

with a lotus or a cross

or a star or a figurine

or a photo of someone.

Or a stone. Always something.

I tried, in fact, to put things

on the altar, but

no thing let itself

stay. There was a day

when, in a single moment,

the altar had everything

on it, and by everything,

I mean everything—every

bee, every stick, every

plastic bag and beetle,

every crushed empty can,

every crumpled shirt,

every door handle, compass,

broken thermometer, apple,

trashcan, tree, everything.

And it was so beautiful I wept.

For hours. Oh, the pure potential of it!

And then, that altar

was no longer in some secret

temple in my heart,

but everywhere. Everywhere

a place to worship.

Everything a prayer

waiting to be heard,

to be touched.

And inside, the most beautiful

nothing, not even an altar,

which is, oddly, everything.

I can’t say how.

Sometimes, when I am quiet enough,

I notice it. Sometimes, when

I get out of the way, I fall all the way in.

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Eating Dinner with



What gave numbers their power was the very act of naming them and writing them down.

            —Amir Aczel, “The Origin of the Number Zero,” Smithsonian Magazine, December, 2014



Imagine, says my friend, before 700

there was no zero, which means

before that there was no concept

of nothing. In my bowl,

there is only a bit of squash soup left.

I add some salt, take a small bite.

There is less. I remember reading

that numbers exist outside

the human mind. Not like

a John Deere tractor that’s invented.

Not like a sonata that’s composed.

I take another bite of soup.

it is warm and tastes of apple

and thyme. I try to imagine it,

not knowing of nothing.

What would I have said

was in my bowl now that

the soup is gone? What

would I have thought

was in the chair beside me

here where you are not?

How would it change this

all that is, not comprehending

this all that is not?

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One Undoing




blowing all the wishes

off the dandelion—

falling in love with nothing

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