Posts Tagged ‘spaciousness’

Now I know there is a sacred cathedral
made of unspoken love,
a most beautiful cathedral  

built of generous silence,
a healing sanctuary created
by open hearts that reach out wordlessly.

I have been living in this cathedral
that your love built, and I am changed.
Now I trust loving silence

is a generous response
to another person’s pain.
When I am alone, I am not alone.

When you, in your own home,
open your hands as if in prayer,
I feel your hands holding me.

Your compassion touches me
the way light slips in through stained glass
to touch a face.

The pure hush of your hope
arrives in my heart like plainsong—
more breath than voice, as holy as any syllable.

Thank you for the ways your thoughtful silence
has lit in me thousands of candles
as I meet the darkest hours.

Now, I can’t unknow this: I trust love,
how it flourishes in the vast spaces
across miles, across time.

Such sweet, intense healing perfume—
like lilies on an altar—
the scent of your loving silence

as it opens me.

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When anger enters your body
and swells in you, expands in you
until you don’t fit inside your skin,

when fear enters me
and grows like a virulent weed,
its new shoots propagating
with alarming speed until
its tendrils escape through my throat,

when our voices escalate
to try to express in volume
how big our feelings have become,

then I want to meet you outside
in the center of the meadow
where we are humbled
by the ponderosa pine that stretches skyward,
dwarfed by the red mesa walls,
held by the crystalline airiness.

I want to remember in my body
this capaciousness, this generosity,
so that when I am not standing in the meadow
but in our kitchen or on a street corner
or watching the news,
I can remember the meadow with my whole being,
can remember the scale of sky and stars
and the vast reaches
of the ever-growing universe.

I want to hold you with that kind of openness,
want to relax into knowing we are held together
by the same forces that hold the constellations.
Imagine us all together now—comets, supernovas,
your anger, my fear, and all those countless suns.

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           for Donavan Dailey
The heart perhaps thought it was open
until a moment of silence is followed by fingers
flying across nylon strings and then, with no warning,
the heart breaks open as a high alpine meadow in June,
splays wide as a snow-deep cirque midwinter,
is exposed as a woman sitting in the first row
with tears spilling down her cheeks.
The heart does not question why,
it simply opens, wider, lets the secret tango
move through its channels as only
a secret tango can do—dancing the heart
ever closer to the moment until, beating wild,
the heart forgets it could ever be anything
but spontaneous as jazz, honest as the man
being played by his guitar, expansive
as the silence that shimmers in the air
just after the last note rings.

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Sometimes there is inside me
a space so great
my body takes itself outside—
as if the house is too restricting,
as if this inner space
must be met by something vast as field,
boundless as sky, immeasurable as interstellar space.
If it is storming, so much the better.
If rain races down the face
and saturates the clothes, this is right.
If wind rips at my hair
or snow stings my cheeks
or lightning makes my hairs stand on end,
it only serves the aliveness.
If it is warm and still,
the inner space expands
into the warm and still.
There are feelings too immense for four walls,
too intense to be trapped in the skin,
sensations that rhyme with the cosmos,
moments when we start to grasp
what we are made of—
more energy than matter,
more nothing than something,
more everything than we ever dreamed.

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On a day when the world is weighty,
   dark and dense with need,
       I want to be the earthworm
         that gives itself over to tunneling,
   its every movement an act
     of bringing spaciousness.
       And when minutes feel crushed by urgency,
   I want to meet the world wormlike,
     which is to say grounded,
       consistent, even slow.
   No matter how desperate the situation,
     the worm does not tunnel faster
       nor burrow more.
   It knows it can take decades
     to build fine soil.
       To whatever is compacted,
   the worm offers its good worm work,
     quietly bringing porosity
       to what is trodden,compressed.
   So often, in my rush to repair,
     I end up exhausted.
Let my gift to the world be
  my constancy, a devotion to openness,
     my willingness to be with what is.
       Let my gift to myself be patience
   as I tend what is dense and dark.

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How might openness, connection and compassion grow from grief? That’s what I explore in three poems published today in the wonderful ONE ART: a journal of poetry. In addition to our country’s history with 9/11, it would have been my son Finn’s 18th birthday today. For all who are grieving, my heart opens to yours. May we find spaciousness in our hearts for ourselves and each other.

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Not that the sorrow became smaller.
Not that I stashed it away.
Not that I moved through it.
More as if a spaciousness grew,
as if the lens of life had been zoomed in tight
and slowly, slowly it widened.
Or as if I’d been cupping my hands
around something precious
and finally I trusted I could open my hands
and that precious thing would not fly away—
or perhaps it would, and I would still be fine.
All I know is today, I feel it,
not only the sorrow, but also
an inner vastness, a capaciousness,
an ability to breathe, to be opened,
as if my own back has turned
into a window. As if my heart
has become clear sky.

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Ridgway, Colorado

On a day when the human world feels like a fist—
when it clenches and squeezes,
fierce and relentless—
I leave the four walls and sit
on an old fallen cottonwood tree,
long and silver and smooth.
There, in the center of a wide river valley,
I sit. And sit. And sit.
And the tall green grasses
and the graceful white yarrow don’t refuse me.
And the murmur of waves
and the musk-yellow scent of sweet clover
replace any thoughts, save being here.
The ring of red mesas
with their vast crowns of spruce
form a vase great enough to hold it all—
and I am gathered into spaciousness
along with dark green sedges and white butterflies,
with the tantrums of brambles
and the tangled flight patterns
of thousands on thousands of dark tiny flies.
A flock of birds rise all at once from the river
and my heart and my eyes rise, too.
A long time passes before I am quiet enough
to hear the chorus in the willows,
the bright clicking of insect wings,
the silence that weaves through everything.
Then the flickers come close
and the dragonflies draw nearer in.
And I current. I cloud. I leaf. I wing.
I leave unwalled, un-selved.
The spaciousness comes with me.

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Grief arrives with an eraser—
not the cute pink kind
at the end of a pencil,
more like the big gray kind
with the fat felt strips
we used on chalk boards—
the kind that didn’t really
get rid of what was there,
just smeared it around
until it was unrecognizable,
the ghost of what was written
still haunting the board.
At first I thought
what was being erased
was the one who was gone.
Then I realized
what’s being erased is me—
whatever I think I know
about love, about life,
about death.
This erasure is nothing
I would have asked for.
But now, lines blurring,
what is infinite in me begins
to recognize itself,
and it’s beautiful—
this spaciousness
I once thought
meant the end.

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When at last I feel solid again,
along come the mysterious tools
that carve in me
a new spaciousness.
Such painful excavation,
and yet somehow
inside this human shape,
I contain a grand canyon
deep enough for high risk;
a wrestling arena vast enough
for wings of angels
and storming demons of doubt;
and an entire concert hall
with acoustics so fine
that when the smallest voice
in me sits on stage and whispers
you can do it,
I can hear it clearly,
even in the cheap seats,
and though the song is tiny,
it’s so resonant
I sing along.

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