Posts Tagged ‘question’




The spam email was simple. Subject: Why?

Body: Answer me. And I thought of Einstein,

who wrote a brief letter to Miss Marion Block,

a woman who had written first to him,

overcome as she was by two world wars.


He wrote: The question “Why” in the human sphere

is easy to answer: to create satisfaction

for ourselves and for other people.


Almost 800 years earlier,

Rumi answered the same question, saying,

Oh soul, you worry too much.


I, too, like Miss Block, like the spammer,

like the soul, I, too, have stood beneath the stars

and asked Why, Why?

And this week, I received in the mail

a typed letter signed from The Universe,

saying, You know this, but may have forgotten:

you have been given a special task

to complete on Earth … the world needs you.


And the words from The Universe

leap from the page to form new constellations

inside me and I see so clearly

that I am one of many, many stars,

no longer capable of thinking I’m in this for myself,

certain that we shine for each other.


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How has pride helped your family?

That is a question I’ve never asked.

Nor How do you treat yourself


when you think “I must give others choices?”

And suddenly it occurs to me

that I always ask the same questions.


How was your day? and Peanut butter

sandwich or bagel with cream cheese?

I have been thinking of new questions today.


What do you have to teach me?

Earth, what do you want? and

Where do I begin? But these are still


questions I can think of. I want to learn

new questions, questions I don’t yet know to ask.

Questions that scare me. Questions that make me


weep just hearing them. Questions

I know I will spend a lifetime

learning how to answer


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in the dark

you lose track

of any lines

that say

you are here

and the night

holds you

like a lover

with hands



and the stars

keep thousands

of secrets

and sometimes

they spill,

and if you have

a question,

it comes to meet you

whether or not

you’ve dared

to ask it.

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Across the yard, below

the cliffs, and just beneath the evening’s

drift toward darkening, above

the river, through the trees,

there is, if you are lucky,

a slender moment charmed

by chance when, if you look up,

the great blue heron

will angle past on slanting wing

and make you question



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I make in my heart a nest for the questions,

ask them to stay, and at the same time

post a sign that says

answers only—

no wonder they fly away.



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By the time you wake,

the day is already a question.

Whatever declaration there was

in your dreams has already

curled itself into a question mark.

No matter how you wrestle

with the punctuation—try,

perhaps, to straighten it

into an exclamation or crumple it

into a period—regardless, the day

insists on being interrogative.

And why shouldn’t it

insist on being a curve

like a river bed,

like a nautilus,

like a naked breast

beneath the ultrasound—

nature despises a straight line.

Now what matters

is what always matters—

how will you meet the day?






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This Life


Long strands

of silky







when to

be caught,

& when

to fall through.


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One Unsequencing




the question

hasn’t even been asked yet—

still, seeking the answer

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Sometimes, if you ask
the right question,
and there are infinite

right questions to ask,
then the world cracks,
not in a way that makes

it more broken, but
cracks in a way
that makes it more whole,

as if you’ve been living
in a glass tank without
knowing the glass

were there. But oh!
after the shattering,
when someone asks you,

“Does the universe
act on us or do we act on
the universe,” you feel

in your breath and your
pulse that you and the universe
are the very same thing,

you feel it with absolute
certainty even as your
mind races

to find the place
where the glass
used to be.

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Truth and Dare

a D-poem for Lian Canty’s Alphabet Menagerie

I dare you on an early springtime morn
to ask the daffodil what it remembers
of December. Ask the dragonfly
what it was like to live before the age
of dinosaurs. Go ask the dandelion
how it feels to be despised, and what
it’s like to lose your seeds like wishes—every
single one. Then ask the deer about
the reasons it wore spots when it was young.
The dogwood, ask its blossoms about frost.
The donut, ask it what it knows of holes.
The drum, invite it in for tea to tell
you of the skin it wears and other lives
it’s breathed. Then ask the duck if it recalls
the time the young swan came to live amongst
the ducklings. There is always something more
to every story than we see, yes, something
more than this and that, a hidden door
through which truths pass as silently as lies—
though sometimes truths bounce back like echoes. Ask
the dolphins how that works, how if you sing
the world sings back to you. I dare you, sing
your questions to the world. Perhaps you’ll hear
whatever answers you had wanted, but
more likely you’ll hear answers that will make
your heart break open wider than before—
those are the answers I am hoping for.

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