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Posts Tagged ‘opening’

The Prayers

When I asked the world to open me,
I did not know the price.
When I wrote that two-word prayer in the sand,
I did not know loss was the key,
devastation the hinge,
trust was the dissolution
of the idea of a door.
When I asked the world to open me,
I could never have said yes to what came next.
Perhaps I imagined the waves
knew only how to carry me.
I did not imagine they would also pull me under.
When I asked the world to open me,
I had not imagined drowning
was the way to reach the shore.
The waves of sorrow dragged me down
with their tides of unthinkable loss.
The currents emptied my pockets
and stripped me of my ideas.
I was rolled and eroded
and washed up on the sand
like driftwood—softened.
I sprawled there and wept,
astonished to still be alive.
It is not easy to continue to pray this way.
Open me.
And yet it is the truest prayer I know.
The other truest prayer,
though sometimes it frightens me,
is Thank you.

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The Bidding


 
Again, I am ruled by it,
this invitation to be wildly open
the way a day is open,
this invitation to be porous
the way birdsong is porous,
this invitation to feel it all
the way skin feels it all when
I slip into a blue alpine lake.
Again this urge to fall all the way
into the mystery and refuse
any rope thrown in an attempt
to rescue me. Morning comes
with the scent of autumn,
charged with ripeness and rot
and the kinship of everything.
What an honor to be mortal,
to know the value of a day,
to know how vulnerable we are
and then give ourselves away.
 

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These warm summer evenings
I take in the nighthawks
looping above the field.
I take in their fast and agile flight,
take in their long and pointed wings.
Come winter, I will be grateful
to have stored such things.
When the nighthawks are gone
and the world is dim,
I will want to remember thema—
their aerialist displays, the way
they make of the dusk a playground,
the way the whole night
seems to hang on an angling wing—
Oh summer is such a generous thing.
Even the dark is charged with the thrill
of living. Even this heart, wounded
and bruised, can’t help but open
to the wheeling of nighthawks,
how they arc and sweep
as the sun disappears
and then continue their swooping
long after the light is gone.

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for Andrea Bird


A person, once a stranger,
can slip into your life,
unplanned, of course,
as if brought by the wind
in much the same way
a seed of spotted saxifrage
can slip by happenstance
into a crack in a rock
then root and grow.
Eventually, the saxifrage
will split the rock open.
By then, it will be full,
its flowers prolific
and beautiful.
If you are lucky,
this once stranger
will do in time
the same to you—
will be alive in you,
crack you open
with their beauty,
make you grateful
to be so broken.

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If the eyes
can adjust
to the dark,
the iris expanding
the pupil
as wide
as possible
to open to light
and enhance
sensitivity,
then dear
heart, how
might you,
too, adjust?

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Even the word surrender
suggests some agency,
but perhaps
what is asked of us
is zero—perhaps
we are like the seed
of the lodgepole pine
that does nothing itself
to open.
It needs the heat
of a wildfire blaze.
The seed is released
into the blackened,
desolate world
that seemed hellbent
on destroying it,
but it is the carbon-rich
soil left behind by the fire
that feeds the seed
and helps the tree
grow straight
and tall.
No surrender.
No effort.
Who could ask
for the fire?
The seed didn’t.
It did nothing at all.

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The Opening




If the day is a hinge,
   then loss is the hand
     that swings the door
       so that what I would never choose
         becomes my opening.
What I would never choose
   becomes the thing
     that makes me need to be
       a better person.
What I could not choose
   becomes the spring board
     to devotion.
       So let me open.
In this time of broken hope,
   love says to me,
     Be the yes.
       And if you cannot be the yes,
         then stop trying anything
            and let yourself fall
              into to the opening.

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The Opening

Finn dancing, April 2021




Like this lily on the table
giving its everything to the world,
that’s the way I see your life.
For seventeen years, I watched you
open and open and open—
watched you hurl your body
off cliffs on skis. Watched you leap
on the stage more gazelle
than boy. Heard you weep
when your friends broke your heart.
Full on, my love, that’s how you lived,
the way so few others dare.
I saw you fail and try and fail and try
and fail and try again—every morning,
your petals outspread as you learned
how to be in this world, this world
that does its best to close us down.
You were the perfume of the wide open lily—
in every room you entered,
even when you were quiet,
everyone knew you were there.
Your presence. Your presence.
I honor the way you lived,
splaying wide, then wider,
your heart on full display until
you could no longer live this way.
I want to give myself
to this opening, though it hurts,
though I am left with the absence
of your bloom. I want to honor
the way you charged every room
of my heart with the beauty,
the pain of your being.  
I want to open
to the every memory of you—
to the memories where you shine,
to the memories where you
say goodbye to this world,
this world that asks for everything—
though the opening makes me weep,
though the opening asks me,
oh please, god, oh please, no,
not this,
the opening asks me for everything.

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Is

The storehouse of treasures opens by itself. You can take them and use them any way you wish.
            —from Pacific Zen’s Miscellaneous Koan Collection


Even in deepest sorrow,
the storehouse of treasures
opens inside each moment—
I needn’t even knock on the door.
Nothing is asked of me.
I come to the storehouse
pockets empty, but feel
no need to fill my pockets.
All I want is to live in the opening.
All I want is to be used
by the treasure.
I want to be the treasure.

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Thank You




It’s not as if the door can decide:
Open. Closed. Locked. Unhinged.
The door is ever at the mercy
of the hand on the knob,
the shoulder that smashes it,
the wind that abruptly slams it shut,
the smile that swings it wide as noon.
Long ago, I learned every moment
has a door, and that those doors
never open themselves. That is why,
standing here, I am astonished
to see, through no effort of my own,
a door swing open. And how sweet
the surprise when I see
on the other side of the knob,
your hand.

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