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Posts Tagged ‘present’

Late Summer

            for Vivian and Christie


This lyric afternoon with its fruit trees
and friendship and barest kiss of rain,
is it so wrong to want to save it, the way
I will process the dark plums into jam?
Is it so wrong to want to preserve
the honeyed song of summer, the warmth
of sun, the pleasure of an afternoon
with my daughter and a friend?
An ovation of thunder.
Scent of basil. Purr of cat.
The creamy fuzz of the growing quince.
The joy as we try for the first time
black apricots, their skin so surprising,
their flesh so nectar-ish. I will freeze
most of the ripe blackberries we gathered,
will savor them come snow, come cold.
A day such as this is like yeast in wheat dough—
it’s not there just for taste, it’s the difference
between bread and a brick.
It invites a trust there will be other days
filled with elation. Dig in, it seems to say.
Don’t save for later what can only be lived today.
Even the disbelief that a day could be so good—
that too, tastes so nourishing, so sweet.

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Off the Clock




I want to wake with no sense of what a minute is—
no watch on my hand, no dial on the wall,
no method to measure this life into units of should.
I want to lean into the spell of sunlight like orchids on the sill.
I want to be a question only the moment can answer,
want bergamot to tell me it’s time for tea.
And if there is a pressing yes, then let it find me.
Let me feel into the field of my upper back—
how spacious it becomes when I act with integrity.
Let me be rhythm of shadow and birdsong
let me be rising wind. Let me be time itself,
not the arrow of time, but the infinite sea
and the sand that slips and the silence that swells
in the absence of tick tick tick. I want to wake
to no hands but yours and mine. To be born into the day.
No was. No will. No once. No when.
No deadline. No finish line. No wrong date. No too late.
No too late. Not even a little too late. It would never be too late.

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Like Tonight

After wrapping the present,

mom would pull ribbon from a roll

and wrap it around the gift.

She’d tie a knot at the top,

then ask for my finger

to hold the ribbon in place

while she fashioned the double knot.

Eventually I learned what Mom knew—

it’s not hard to tie a ribbon alone.

Still, the loan of a finger is lovely.

Lovelier still, partnership.

This is what you do for me.

Though you’re far away,

sometimes when I find myself trying

to, oh, wrap things up,

I feel, perhaps, an invisible hand

reaching in to help where I most need it.

How much easier the work is then,

such a gift, to meet the present together.

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playing tug of war—

my future

my past

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Temple

It’s not because anything special happened.

Though I’ve sat in silence in desert canyons

and climbed iron rungs on overhanging cliffs

and sung in cathedrals and sung in snow caves

and hiked naked through juniper and

washed dishes in inner city shelters

and wandered the cobblestones of ancient villages,

today, sitting on the couch in my own house,

I finally understood with my whole body

how life puts us in the places we need to grow.

And so I made tea. And sat a while longer

with the windows open, listening to my longing

as it wove with the sound of the sprinklers and the oven fan

and I said to the moment, what do you ask of me?

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I’m now going to dazzle myself with the pluperfect.

            —Jack Ridl

 

 

And isn’t it dazzling, the notion

that an action not only began in the past,

 

but was finished in the past, or,

as they say in Latin, it was perfect.

 

Not like these leaves, that began

in the past as green flags, but now

 

transform into gold flame. And we all know

what happens next. No, not like

 

the boy who once fit in my lap

and now looks me in the eye.

 

Not like the dream I had for my life

that changed before it could

 

be achieved. What really ends?

What do our cells not remember?

 

Even the dead are here in this room,

on the streets, in cafes. We carry

 

our history with us everywhere

we go, and it wriggles out of its

 

perfect cage and dances through the ending,

though we thought we’d shut the curtain,

 

though the director has long since yelled “cut,”

though the audience has already left,

 

see, here it is, even now, progressive

and as present as these cut sunflowers,

 

spilling their pollen all over the table,

hardening their seeds into future gold.

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Sometimes in spring

I forget it is ever

not spring, forget

that there will be a time

without hummingbirds

and the raucous call

of the geese. These lilacs

and their purple scent

are forever. Forever

is this deep green field.

I almost resent

the voice that writes this poem,

the part that notices how already

the apples have gone

from ecstatic white bloom

to small hard fruit.

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Radical Abundance

 

 

 

Every branch

of the raspberry bush bows

with the weight of sweetness

and our busy hands

pull the ripe berries

to our mouths.

It is a long time

before we remember

we have bowls,

we have tomorrow.

 

 

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Spontaneous

 

 

 

hulling strawberries

for the freezer I think of

how many sweetnesses

are put off till later—

 

that ripest berry,

it is delicious, red stain

on my hands, my lips

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One Saturation

 

 

soused with joy—

unable to remember any myth

that didn’t end happily

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