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Posts Tagged ‘patience’

One Hopeful

 

 

 

late-blooming lilac—

perhaps we, too, have something

marvelous about to flourish

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Extrapolation

 

 

 

Today it’s the hummingbirds that save me.

Not because I see one. Because I don’t.

Every year, the broad-tailed hummingbirds

arrive at our feeders the third week of April.

This year, they’ve yet to arrive.

How many other joys have I been awaiting

that are yet to materialize?

It is hard to spend a life waiting, and yet

this one impatience I meet with trust.

Every year, there are hummingbirds.

They return. And when they come,

we’ll feed them. We’ll admire their furious

wings. We’ll forget they were late.

We’ll delight in their curious hum.

 

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IMG_3399

 

 

Again today, the invitation

to fall in love with the world—

with the gray jay who flits

from empty branch to empty branch,

with the sharp scent of rabbit brush,

with the warm spring wind

and the dark buds on the crabapple

still tight with future bloom.

 

Some days, though the world offers itself,

it’s not so easy to fall in love—

days when heartache twists in the chest

and turns in us like a screw,

leaves us raw and sensitive, until,

too tender to hear any more bad news,

we shutter our hearts, we close our ears.

 

But if we’re lucky, an inner voice

sends us outside into the day,

and though it is gray, the world does

what the world does—

holds us despite our heartache,

holds us the same way it holds

the stubby pink cactus, all prickly and clenched,

the same way it holds last year’s thistles,

all brittle and flat and gray,

the same way it holds the dank scent of river

and the moldering scent of last year’s leaves,

holds us exactly as we are

until we are ready to fall in love again.

 

 

 

 

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Allium Sativum

 

 

 

When everything had died,

but before the ground was frozen,

I planted the garlic in four long rows—

 

dozens of cloves deep enough

in the earth so the frost

couldn’t push them up and out.

 

I think of them now as winter

continues to gather the world

in its white embrace.

 

I think of how, beneath the snow,

they’re preparing to flourish,

to root, to leaf, to grow.

 

It’s not so different, I think,

from the ways you love me—

how, sometimes, when everything

 

seems barren, you’ll plant seeds.

And though we see nothing for a long,

long time, there, like cloves beneath the surface,

 

each seed multiplies into many.

So much of love happens invisibly.

So much of love takes a stretch.

 

When the cloves ripen, some we will consume.

They will mark us with their strength.

Some, like love, we will plant again.

 

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The broccoli was a disappointment this year—

planted from seed, it had finally begun to sport

small knobby green heads when the frost came.

And though the broccoli didn’t die, it stalled.

Perhaps I fear I am like this broccoli—destined

to grow but never to fruit. Perhaps this is why

I feel such urgency, this need to write faster,

heal quicker, mature sooner, love more. Because

what if the freeze comes? What if I die before

doing what I have come here to do?

 

There is a part of me who is patient. A part of me

who says, Sweet One, you could not possibly be

any more you than you are right now. She tells me,

You are exactly enough. And sometimes I believe her.

But sometimes I roll my eyes at her and tell myself,

Hurry up, hurry up. I know myself as barren stalk.

I try to will my own ripening. Not once has it worked,

not once, and still this strange drive:

go faster, do it better, do it now.

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I know that things just don’t grow if you don’t bless them with your patience.

            —Emmylou, First Aid Kit

 

 

watering the sunflowers

it will be months before

even a bud appears—

watering the sunflowers

watering the sunflowers

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One Patience

 

 

 

desperate for shade—

I plant a sapling,

bring it water

 

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I know that things just don’t grow if you don’t bless them with your patience.

            —First Aid Kit, Emmylou

 

 

There are gardens in me

where I have tried

to make things bloom

out of season—

how difficult it can be

to let a seed do

what a seed does

all on its own,

especially in a time

of drought when I fear

the seed may not grow at all

if I don’t help it

grow more quickly.

And so I let soil

be my teacher.

How perfectly

it waits, letting

the world feed it.

How easily it

partners with rain,

with sun, with time.

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They are dead,

the sunflowers,

all petal-less and brown,

and I almost uprooted them

from the garden,

almost tossed aside

their tall brittle stalks,

their heavy bowed heads,

 

but see today how

the small gray birds

flutter amongst the dead

and dive for dark seeds,

how the garden air shimmers

with dozens of wings.

 

Patience, I think,

with whatever we believe

is lost—

so much beauty survives

even after a frost.

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Wait until the necessary and everlasting overpowers you, until day and night avail themselves of your lips. 

—Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Essays and Lectures”

 

 

I believe in ripeness, the wisdom

of waiting. Here on my counter,

the melon sweetens and softens.

The peppers slowly turn from green

to red. The tomatoes become less

like stones and more like kisses.

Terrible to taste an early grape,

the way its sharp juice rucks

the soft lips. Terrible to eat

the berry before it’s earned

its blush. And still, the misery

of waiting—how eagerness

rises up in us, a surge of please,

a tide of want, a rush of now.

Yes, to the wait, the awful wait,

how this trial of patience

brings us closer to ourselves,

how it makes the future inevitable

ever that much sweeter.

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