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Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

… by and by, nor spare a sigh, though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie, and yet you will weep, and know why

            —Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Spring and Fall, To a Young Child”

The whole time I ran the lawnmower

through brown cottonwood leaves,

I recited Gerard Manley Hopkins

and waded in intricate cross tied rhymes

that defied the straight green paths

I was making. I hope Gerard doesn’t think it rude

I call him by his first name when I talk to him,

as I often do when walking alone.

He never speaks back, but I’d like to think

I’m better at listening for him.

As today when I repeated again his words

about worlds of wanwood leafmeal,

I swear he rose up

in the dry-honey scent of leaf dust

as if to say, this, this, this.

And while I pushed the red Toro

across the leaf-spangled lawn,

I thrilled to know the world as poem,

to know the ambush of tears as tiny wet poems

to know myself as a tired and ecstatic poem

while all around me the leaves continued to fall.

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deep desert canyon of the heart—

it remembers when

it was ocean

 

 

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You are not a passive observer in the cosmos. The entire universe is expressing itself through you at this very minute.

—Deepak Chopra

 

 

Even as she made the cauliflower soup,

she was a deep space explorer.

No one else in the room seemed to notice

 

she was floating. No one noticed

how gravity had no hold on her.

No, they only saw she was chopping onions,

 

noticed how the act made her cry. How was it

did they not hear her laughter, astonished

as she was by her own weightlessness,

 

by the way she could move in any direction?

Perhaps the novelty explains why

she forgot to turn off the stove,

 

untethered as she was to anything.

It’s a miracle she sat at the dinner table at all,

what, with the awareness that she was surrounded

 

by planets, spiral galaxies, black holes, moons. Yes,

miracle, she thought as she tasted the soup,

and noticed deep space not just around,

 

but inside her: supernovae, constellations,

interstellar dust,

the glorious, immeasurable dark.

 

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Out of Reach

 

 

The crystal vase on the top shelf,

the one that holds two dozen roses.

The Hallelujah Chorus’s high A.

The perfect word that flutters away.

The name of the man walking toward you.

The card that slips between the seats.

The itch on your back. The dream upon waking.

World peace. Inner peace. Any peace.

 

In the kitchen, a persimmon

with its stubborn glossy skin. A knife

with its shrewd steel edge. Oh this art

of choosing to want what’s in hand—

sweet honeyed flesh, yielding and soft.

Oh this craving for blood oranges, tart and red.

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Dave drips the hot blue wax onto the ski

and tells me how it will help the ski meet the snow.

“The cold snow is sharp,” he says, “and aggressive.”

Today’s wax will harden the base of the ski.

 

I think of the world and all its sharpnesses,

all its aggressions. We humans

are not so unlike the snow. I’ve been fooled

so often. Perhaps my soul needs blue wax.

 

No, I think, what the soul really needs

is more like the scraper he pulls out,

and the brushes of copper, horsehair, and nylon.

What the soul really needs is a scouring.

 

He explains that the scouring allows

the cuts in the structure to be exposed

so that the skis don’t suction to the snow.

Is that what all these little cuts are for in me?

 

To keep me from getting stuck? Later,

as I skate in the race and feel my ski glide

across what is cold, I thank Dave

with my visible breath.

 

There are so many ways to relearn

how it is we meet the world. Today,

the lesson is a ski, a scraper, some wax,

a man with an iron, and acres and acres of snow.

 

 

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The Vendor

 

 

And if there were a map

for the path of my own becoming,

I wouldn’t buy it.

I tried. I marched up to the vendor

of maps, took out my coin,

and held it out for the exchange,

but was startled by an inner revolt—

not an angry crowd but a quiet, insistent no.

I put the coin back in my pocket

and walked away, wildly aware

I had no idea what step came next.

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Even then she was becoming

a dreamer, a lover of bark,

a student of solitude. Even then

she noticed how there were places

and moods that words couldn’t touch—

even then she felt the joy in trying anyway.

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Invitation

 

 

 

The day dares me to become a tree,

dares me to root, to stay in one place,

to choose this here, to plant myself in this now,

to stretch down even as I reach up.

 

But there are gusts in me, and wild squalls,

whirling impulses that swirl and spin

and whisper to me to be current, be flow.

Winds in me that says go, darling, go.

 

And the day says stay to me. The day

says, find evergreen in the moment.

The day offers me its ground, its generous soil.

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A black hole is a region of spacetime exhibiting gravitational acceleration so strong that nothing—no particles or even electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from it.

            —Wikipedia

 

 

Perhaps black hole is just another word

for God—a force that pulls in everything,

regardless of how that everything looks or prays or votes.

A cup that runneth—not over, but ever in. A shepherd

so adept at shepherding that nothing—

no sheep, no man, no star, no dust—

could ever be lost in its spacetime pasture.

It creates communion, obliterates separateness.

In pictures, it’s a vision of still water.

In truth, it’s unable to be known.

A force that overwhelms all other forces.

It devours some, and in others spurs growth.

 

And what isn’t, I suppose, another word

for God: Ledger. Valley. Garden. Death.

Rhubarb. Rod. Human. Staff.

There is this gift to see the divine in everything.

There is this force that pulls the everything in.

Every particle. Every everything. Even (my god) the light.

 

 

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Darn Lucky

 

 

 

It happens, you know—the day opens itself

like a tulip in a warm room, and you meet someone

who amazes you with their willingness

to be a thousand percent alive, someone

who makes you feel grateful to be you.

 

And it’s as if life has been keeping a beautiful

secret from you—like the fact that they make

elderberry flowers into wine. Like muscadine.

Like the yellow-green floral scent of quince.

Like the perfect knot for tying your shoes.

 

And it turns out life does have wonderful

secrets waiting for you. Even when the news

makes you cry. Even when some old pain returns,

that’s when you will meet this new friend.

Someone wholly themselves. Someone

 

who makes you smile in the kitchen, a smile so real

that when you go out, the whole world notices.

It’s enough to make you want to wake up in the morning.

To go into the day. To be unguarded as a tulip, petals

falling open. You never know who you might meet.

 

 

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