Posts Tagged ‘plants’

If I am to hold the world in my heart,
then let me hold it the way leaves hold sunshine,
trapping the energy not for the sake of holding it,
but to transform it into nourishment.
Though the process isn’t simple, it’s common.
All around the globe, in every season,
leaves hold and synthesize
whatever the day gives them.
On a day when the energy of the world
seems too much to hold,
let me bid my heart turn
like a leaf to the sun
and make sugar.
The way Rilke turned grief into sonnets.
The way Sibelius turned war into song.

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Thanking the Christmas Cactus

Tonight, for a moment,
my world shrinks to the size
of the Christmas cactus,
which, despite the storm
that even now blusters outside,
has opened dozens of voluptuous
red blooms, as if to say,
Here I am, blooming midwinter,
and you can do it, too.
There are days when
the news makes me doubt
the value of blooming—
when the headlines alone
twist hope into a crumpled,
unrecognizable heap.
But then some snippet
of beauty finds me—
a scarlet flower,
a handwritten letter—
and breaks any scale
I would use to interpret
the world. It’s not that the terror
goes away, no. But for a few
moments, I am blessed
with the certainty
that even the smallest beauty matters
and that it is my job
to meet life however it appears—
petal, bomb, sweetness, pain—
grateful for my humanness,
vulnerable and tenuous
though it is.

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It’s not that they are hiding—

it’s more that they know

the power of a red dress.

Between slabs of red sandstone,

the tiny yellow green flowers

of the desert paintbrush

decorate themselves

with bright red bracts,

colorful flame-like spears

that attract butterflies,

hummingbirds and bees.


It’s what we do to survive,

those of us born plain,

those of us otherwise ignored.

I think of the homely girl I was

who wanted to wear

gold combs in her hair

to the middle school dance,

as if something shiny and bright

might attract the honey boys.


I want to go back to that gym

with its streamers and balloons

and take the gold combs

out of her mousy brown hair

and tell her the brightest parts of her

are inside. I want to tell her

that being a small green

and yellow flower

will serve her.


I want her to know

that a day will come

when she’ll walk in the desert

and feel so at one

with the cliffs and the scrub brush,

the lichen and the Mormon tea,

and that in that moment

when she loses her sense of herself

and merges with slickrock

and paintbrush and sky

it is then she will be most beautiful.

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This, too, is love, the way the beans

reach for the fence, the way the fence

does not leave the garden. The way

plants long to be touched—how

it keeps them from growing spindly

and weak. How the spider plant

on the shelf drops tiny white petals

into the cups. You could say it’s just

nature doing what nature does.

I prefer to call it love, the sunflowers

nodding their brown faces east every

morning, the lilies of the valley

spreading their generous perfume.


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