Posts Tagged ‘sadness’

Healing the Heart

Perhaps I once thought I knew
what it meant to heal—to be good as new,
to be stitched back together, unbruised,
unblemished, in no pain, repaired.
But what is healing to the heart
when it has lost a beloved?
Surely not to forget the loss happened
the way the lungs forget bronchitis.
Surely not to stop the ache
the way bones reknit and forget
the break. Surely not to shun sadness,
when sadness is the only thing
that makes sense.
Is it strange that deeply broken
is the only way now I feel whole?

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Whatever It Means

Certain I can’t carry

another sadness,

I step outside

and let the shine

of the mid-morning sun

stroke my cheek

like a lover.

And the air has a strange

bright citrus tang,

and I inhale it

again and again.

Whatever it means

to be alive,

it has something

to do with this—

the scent of leaf

and soil and shadow.

The astonishing warmth

of a late October day.

The weight

of loving another,

that weight

without which

I would be nothing.

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Tonight, life wears me like

an old pair of shoes. The kind

it can slip its feet into

without untying the laces.

The kind of shoes a mother

would probably throw out

thinking of the act as a favor.

Life is tired, tonight,

of running. Doesn’t want

to dress to impress. It just

wants to know that it goes on,

especially tonight when

events seem to point

to the contrary. And so

though I am down at the heel

and shabby, life slips into me

as if life depended on it.

And we walk in the moonlight,

cry. And howl. Then take another step.

And then another.

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The Way It Is

A woman sits in the park
in the grass, and she is happy.
It is not that she does not know
that all over the world, even
in her own twisting heart,
terrible things are happening.
It is not that she is trying
to pretend she does not know.
It is more, perhaps, that the happiness
rises up and she does not try
to pretend it isn’t there. Yes,
there it is, beside the growling burrs
of sadness, letting loose
all its tiny white parasol seeds
just as a dandelion does.
Some of them fly beyond her sight.
Some land in her sweater
and will not be pulled out,
no matter how hard she tries.

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As it is, I would rather be

a something else today. A vine

or a wind or a crocus leaping

purple-ish and fragile out of the earth.

Or rather to be the bulb that did not

come up. No one to please and no one

to disappoint and keenly unaware

of so much misery. I am not suggesting

that today is not a blessing.

I do not mean to be ungrateful

for this precious, amazing life.

There are plenty of reasons to fall

in love with the world today, including

the wind, the crocus, the bulbs and the

hands that planted them, but I

am too tired for falling in love,

and my pockets are full of sadnesses.

Which is perhaps, another reason

to fall in love with the world,

the fact that I have pockets at all,

only it’s very quiet. And resembles

a bruise. And very not what

I thought love was. I would curl

into a corner, but no corner

is small enough. There is always

more space. And every wall

becomes a mirror. And every

sorrow seems to smile at me

with gentle eyes and say,

it isn’t what you thought

it was now, is it?

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Yesterday, a low gray haze.
A fog. A blur. A sullen shroud.
At dinnertime my young boy says,
Mom, can you guess how much a cloud

would weigh? I guess a thousand pounds.
No, more, Mom, guess again, he says.
Two million pounds? He says, Go down.
I give, I say. He looks away,

then tells me, Half a great blue whale.
And guess how much a storm cloud weighs?
I say, I give again, and smile.
A whole blue whale, he says, then splays

his hands in thrill, and says, Guess how
much hurricanes would weigh?
This time I guesstimate too low—
Perhaps two hundred whales, I say.

By now I’m curious about
how many pods of great blue whales
could swim in squalls of heartsick doubt
and grief, the pea soup kind that swelled

up yesterday. Three hundred whales,
he tells me and I wonder if
the same great number found their way
into my brooding thoughts. He shifts

the conversation to how heat
is what makes clouds suspend up high.
Meanwhile, a foggy thought repeats.
A dozen great blue whales swim by.

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What We Do When We Can Do Nothing Else

When trouble comes
with its long gray dress
and its hungry eyes
and its basket of woe,
when trouble comes
with its insomnia
and note past due
that you know you can never pay,
when trouble comes
with its refusal to let you
be bailed out this time
no matter how crisp
the hundreds are,
I do not want to be
the one who lies to you
and says it will all be okay.
I don’t want to play
the teacher and talk
about how the world
erodes us until we shine.
I want to be the one
who holds your hand,
though, even if it is
from many hundreds
of miles away, and
even if you do not hear me
say it, I will be thinking,
miracles happen,
and you are one.
I will write you a poem
made of doors, all
of them open,
even the one
that trouble walks in,
even the one
that trouble walks out.

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