Posts Tagged ‘opening’

Despite the News




Again the rain,

and I wander

the tender green grass

of the field.

The hands pull weeds

because the hands

want something to do.

And the mind looks

for morels, because the mind

wants something to do.

And the feet wander,

because they are born

nomads. And the heart

opens. Not because

it wants to, but

because there is something

in the scent of rain

that suggests

so much is possible,

even, against all odds,

beauty. Even, though

it seems impossible,

another day.

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Why do we have to do this,

asks my daughter, hoe in hand,

and I, hoe in hand, reply

that it’s good for the soil

and helps it to breathe.


I think about how my own thoughts

crust over, how quickly

they become impenetrable.


And then hoe of loss. Hoe of hope.

Hoe of disbelief. Hoe of shock.


Again and again,

the world breaks me open,

allows the new to come in.


Again and again, I resist

the change. And then marvel

at how essential it is,

the new ideas so green,

so persistent, tender as

a girl asking why.



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Job Description



My work is to be the student of the buds

that have been on the birch all winter—

tight and red, they know when to clench,

when to wait, when to swell,

when to burst, when to green.


My work is to open like the scent of juniper

when stroked by afternoon sun,

like the gong when rapidly rapped

into a shining explosion of resonance.


And when I am wall, my work

is to add hinges and become door.


And when I am lock, my work

is to find the lost key.


My work is to be baby bird,

to open my beak and take in

whatever the world has to feed me

and then

learn to fly.



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One Bewilderment




my heart a red fist,

beating, intent on self-protection

when, despite itself,

it opens, astonished, to find

it’s a peony, a sunrise, a wing

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More Opening to Do




But I took the door

off the hinges,

I said, knowing

I had more opening

to do. Yes,

said God, before

tearing down

the whole house.

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One Landing




climbing the stairs

only to find they don’t end anywhere—

the heart closes

like butterfly wings, only to open again,

why? because that’s what wings do

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Who knew the heart

had so many doors,

most of them invisible

until the very moment

the hand brushes the knob,

and out of habit, perhaps,

the wrist makes a turn

and suddenly

there is an opening

where moments before

there was only wall.

There are thresholds

beyond our dreaming

right here within

the lives we live.

They have been here

all along.

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It is perhaps, no miracle, this glass

of aromatic Chartreuse, but

it opens the mouth surprisingly.

Sweetly green. Intensely green.

A wildly vital explosion of green

that baptizes the inside of the cheeks,

a smile turned in on itself.

Here in the glass, the taste

of three hundred years of practice,

here the devotion of Carthusian monks

who live in the mountains of France.

If I were more discerning, perhaps

I could find in it notes of hyssop and thyme,

cinnamon, mace, lemon balm, angelica root.

But of the one hundred thirty ingredients,

I taste mostly peppermint. And green.

What I most wish to taste

in the glass is a hint of silence.

Some of the monks speak once a week.

Some speak once a year. The rest of the time

they spend in study. And prayer.

My friend Alan says he stole a bottle once.

I think I taste the why. Not the flavor,

though it’s alluring, but the way

it makes the mouth

so aware of itself, so utterly alive,

so willing to believe there’s

so much more to learn

about opening.

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They are still tight,
the buds on the chives.
They are wise not to open.
After a brief spring
it is winter again.
Days of white, nights of white,
thick snow and heavy sky.

Last week, when the birds
were singing, I opened.
I didn’t think of it then
as a vulnerable thing to do.
It seemed so dependable,
the sunshine of you.

I should have taken a hint
from the iris still folded
deep in their green envelopes.
Oh damn this lilac heart,
how it rushes to bloom.
The forecast is for winter all spring.

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Curled on the couch
my daughter and I
get lost for an hour
on the English moor
where the golden gorse
and the purple heather
grow wild around
the empty manor,
where once upon a time ago
I found the same garden
with the same brass key
and the same white lilies
and the same rose trees
while curled on the lap
of my own sweet mother
on another couch
in another home. I feel
in my girl the same thrill
I once felt as the story unfolds
and the characters all
learn just how much
there is to unlock.
Not far from this couch,
our small garden waits
for spring to unwinter
the frozen soil. I like to imagine
something stirring out there
in the dark beneath the snow—
the strawberry roots?
or oregano? But it is just
an imagining. Meanwhile,
here on the couch, there
is perhaps a blossoming:
a girl who says, “Mommy,
what will happen next?”
and a mother who
feels inside of her
some long forgotten door

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