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Posts Tagged ‘self discovery’

“Sometimes it is what is beautiful that carries you,” said Weasel weakly from his bed. “Yes, it can carry you to the end. It is your relationship to what is beautiful, not the beautiful thing itself, that carries you,” said Grizzly Bear.

—Barry Lopez, Crow and Weasel

           

And so, after years of wanting to be river

and calendula, cottonwood and aspen,

larkspur and evergreen, at last the poet

longs to be herself—longs not to be

what is many petalled nor golden leafed,

not to be what merges with ocean,

what thrives in cold. Rather, she longs

to be the one who might uncover beauty

in the garbage dump, find splendor in the mess.

It is no small thing to want to be yourself.

Look, there she sits in the prison of her thoughts.

See her smile as the bars begin to bend,

watch her marvel as what she thought was a cage

becomes wings.

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Good Morning, Stranger

Some mornings when I wake,

it’s as if I have entered someone else’s life

wearing someone else’s dress

and someone else’s socks

and try as I might,

I can’t seem to find myself inside them,

can’t seem to get them off of me.

I read a book in which a woman’s lover

tears off her clothes with his teeth.

I’d be grateful for the help, of course,

but what if I discovered more layers—

what if my skin had to go, too?

And what after that?

How long can I move through the world

as if I’m a stranger to myself?

How long can I pretend not to know

this is the only life I’m given?

This skin, mine. This body,

with its trillions of cells,

the only body I get.

This day with its unfamiliar dress,

the only day.

Looking in the mirror,

I see what I always see—

someone I almost recognize,

someone I sometimes

feel ready to meet.

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Gift

 

 

When she lobbed a stone at me,

I’d long since taken down the walls

that might have offered protection.

 

Nothing to do then

but hitch a ride on the stone—

a direct trip to the core.

 

Had I known how quickly

it could carry me into self-inquiry,

I might have put the stone in her hand.

 

Nah. Still, I thank her.

Where the stone fell marks the spot

where I was. Already, the soft green moss.

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Today it is the chives that spur me,

seeing their slender green scapes and leaves

that have pushed up

through the dried clumps

of last year’s version of themselves.

 

When nothing else in the garden is green,

the chives grow, smooth, bendable, soft,

and yet they have managed to pierce

through the hard spring dirt.

Unwatered. Ignored.

 

In the aftermath of cold and dark,

they come. And something green in me responds,

pungent and powerful, eager. Ready

to flourish. Ready to meet the world,

though the cold is far from over.

 

What is it in us that longs to grow

through the previous, dried up versions of ourselves?

It rises, yes, like tiny spears, unstoppable,

bent on thriving, daring us to be

that resilient, that willing, that green.

 

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Keep distance, the fencing teacher says,

and by this he means, stay close enough

to your opponent that you could, at any time,

extend, lunge and attack with your point.

All my life, I’ve tried not to keep distance.

All my life, I’ve done my best to avoid

the attack—from either side. And now,

with my silver lamé and my one white glove

and my face safe behind metal mesh, I dig

to find the part of me who craves engagement,

who seeks a bout, who wants to threaten

my target and exploit their vulnerability.

Keep distance, he says, and I understand

that this is how I show up for the game.

This is how I meet not only the opponent,

but, perhaps for the first time, myself.

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inspired by Erik Satie, Gnossienne 1

 

 

may everything I think I know

about myself slip to the floor—

straight jacket, hair shirt, corset—

may whatever remains stay naked,

unable to don even cashmere, even silk

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One Eventual

 

 

 

walking the dark alley of grief

afraid of what I might find—

myself

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Yet Another Layer

Steeping so long

in this coat of shoulds

I forgot it was on

’til slipping out by accident

I see it hanging separate

while I stand bare

and strangely new,

wondering what this naked

soul can do.

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Human Nature

Somewhere inside us
is a wolf hunting for prey
and marking its territory.
It prowls the perimeter
of our thoughts, scratching
and leaving its scent. There is also
a rabbit in there
who has not yet figured out
she’s wearing a bear costume
that her mom dressed her in long ago.
The wolf has kept its distance
until now, but that rabbit
is getting hot and thinking
how nice it might be to sit out in the field
and feel the sun on her back.
If she takes off that heavy coat,
she will learn fear.
If she doesn’t, she will never
learn who she is.

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One Conversation

heart to heart
with myself, the eavesdropping crow
calls liar, liar

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