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Posts Tagged ‘shadow’


 
 
May I not only see my own shadow
but may I let it wrestle me
the way an angel once met Jacob
then wrestled him till dawn.
May we scrabble and scrap
until I am trembling, exhausted,
until the shadow dislocates what I think I know
about how to move through the world,
until panting I beg it to bless me,
cling to it until it gives me a new name.
I want to know everything
I am capable of—the destruction,
the ferocity, the benediction.
I don’t need to know the weather.
I just want to know that I can meet
whatever comes, even
the darkest parts of myself,
and learn from them,
then limp into the daylight
toward healing, toward wholeness.

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Better Half


After midnight, the shadow
is with me drinking tea—
mint and lemongrass.
It doesn’t mind a spill.
What’s a mess to a shadow?
If there is a question
that must be asked,
the shadow doesn’t speak it—
no, it understands, perhaps,
the only reason
to ask a question is to let
the universe know  
a willingness to not know.
The shadow doesn’t worry
about what comes next.
That’s the concern
of the flesh. When I sleep,
it untethers itself
from my breath and slips
into the night. It doesn’t curse
the light for bringing it back.
It simply joins me as I
do whatever I do,
stays close to me,
like a dream, like a friend.
 

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One in the Woods




crooked staves
aspen shadows on snow—
our attention the song

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Learning

Today the shadows

teach me to love

what is dim,

the sweet respite

of obscurity

when the sun

is too much

and a tree

yields its shape

so that I might slip

my clumsy heat

out of the bounds

of the vertical world

and find instead

a cool dark pool

on the ground,

as if I’m a boat

that has discovered

at last

a slim calm eddy

in which I might rest.

This is perhaps

the way we start

to meet our deaths—

sliding into the relief

of these dark, quiet

channels.

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Respiratory

IMG_5998

This morning, after the blizzard,

after the sun came out,

there was a moment when the shadows

of the empty cottonwood trees

patterned the snow like tree-sized lungs—

the trunk was a bronchus,

and the branches, bronchioles

that split into twiggish alveoli.

And the tree seemed to say, Remember.

I often neglect to be grateful

for lungs, for breath—

such a simple, forgettable gift.

But in the dividing silhouette,

I saw into myself, a divine branching,

an inner tree, an invitation

to sit and breathe. Remember, it seemed

to say, and I followed the lines until

they disappeared into the light.

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I thought I was Nancy Drew,

a girl who stumbled into mysteries

and solved them. A girl proficient

at picking up clues. A girl who knew

her mission. It felt good to crack

the codes, to decipher the signs.

It felt good to know who was bad.

It felt good to know I was good.

 

And then I learned some signs

have multiple meanings. That sometimes

a mission gets in life’s way. That

bad people are also good,

and good people are also bad.

And that the solution is seldom

as elegant as the mystery—

secrets unfolding in the shadows.

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meeting my shadow

every day I practice this—

walking in the dark

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New Seeing

Just because

we can’t say what

a thing is doesn’t mean

it won’t cast a shadow—

a shadow so small we perhaps

don’t notice as it falls on our own

naked skin—

 

and sometimes, focused as we are

on the light, we fail to see where

our own shadow lands, our

familiar shape distorted,

creating (for whom?)

an unintentional

(I’m sorry)

darkness.

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One Stretch

 

 

 

it is not the shadows

that shape us, but the reaching

toward the light

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A Lesson in Shading

So first, you imagine the light bulb,

he says, then he draws one on the page

so I won’t have to imagine too hard.

And then, he says, you draw a dark line

under the object, assuming that there

will not be much light underneath it.

He moves his pencil forcefully

to darken the bottom of the square.

Next, he says, you move your hand

as far from the light as possible

and make it darker there.

I watch as he fills in the spaces

where white has been.

There is something vital

in all of us that leans toward the dark.

I notice the depth that the shadows

have brought to the page, so like the shadow

into which we are pulled and pulled.

Even now, the darkest parts of us

are kindling our greatest light.

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