Posts Tagged ‘suffering’

Deep Peace

I would carry your ache
if I could. Would carry the throb
and the raw fury, would dress
your wounds with a salve of full moon
and the gold of the tall summer grass.
I would wrap you in the softest song,
and whisper blood-true prayers
so quietly they resemble the sound
of petals falling—something more felt
than understood. And because
I cannot carry your ache, I do
what the helpless do. I love you.
With my own broken open heart,
I love you. With every breath, every blink,
I Iove you. There is a peace
that comes when we deeply
lean into the ache. I wish you
that courage, that peace.

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the glass half empty

she keeps filling it

never noticing

in the bottom

all the tiny holes

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I’m sorry, I say, that you have to go through this,

though even as the words wing out like ravens or robins,

I think of the way every hardship I’ve met

has unburdened itself into blessing. Not right away,

of course, and not before I’ve suffered alone

in the light. Eventually, even the worst forest fire

is eventually just a burning bush. Eventually, a crumb

becomes a meal becomes a feast. But no one suffering

wants to hear how suffering is good for you,

how the struggle makes you stronger. And so

I say, I’m sorry. And I mean it. The fear, the ache

make a ruthless nest. Nothing to do but love each other,

even as our own hearts are breaking. That breaking,

somehow, links us ever closer to each other,

as if it contains some secret for living. Love itself

holding the knife, love itself holding the salve.


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Tsuyu no yo wa tsuyu no yo nagara sari nagara

The world of dew —
A world of dew it is indeed,
And yet, and yet . . .

Thank you for this world of dew,
for dew enough to fill a cup,
to fill my small cup to brimming,

though some mornings all the dew’s been spilled.
It matters not the hand that spilled it,
though there is a tug toward blame.

In the story, the Hindu master pours the cup
too full, and when the tea begins to spill
the scientists appeal to him in shock.

You are too full, he says to them.
Come back to me when you are empty.
Then we’ll talk.

World, thank you for emptying me.
And thank you for my cup, for this
fragile cup with it’s long thin cracks.

Thank you for my thirst,
this thirst so deep sometimes
I beg for one more sip.

And thank you for these lips
that beg, thank you for the empty cup,
and thank you for the sometimes dew.

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We should be especially grateful for having to deal with annoying people and difficult situations, because without them we would have nothing to work with. Without them, how could we practice patience, exertion, mindfulness, loving-kindness or compassion? It is by dealing with such challenges that we grow and develop.
—Judy Lief, “Train Your Mind: Be Grateful to Everyone”

See how lucky you are
that I’ve brought you
these baskets of woe.
It is your blessing
that I am stubborn,
that I cannot fix
my own car, that
I would rather write poems
than sweep or dust.
That habit I have
of interrupting you,
that is your benefit.
My aversion to bathing,
your good fortune.
How else would you grow
if I did not break your heart?
But it is not to annoy you
that I am myself. Nor is it
malicious that I am always
the last person to leave
a party. That I stay up
too late. That I lied.
It’s just that you’re lucky,
such fortune, such luck,
all these baskets of woe
I serve you every day.

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I bow to the ache of it,
the deep inner eating
away at itself, I bow
to the shivers, the gooseflesh,
the waves of nausea and pain.
I bow to the unnamed,
to question, to dark.
And I bow to the fear
that swells in small spaces
and the vast quiet
that dissipates the fear.
I bow to every other human
who hurts and I bow
to the yellow flowers tonight
blooming in the muck
where the river used to be.
I bow to the ache, goddammit,
I bow to it and I bow
to the reluctance to bow to it,
bow to the longing to shove
it all away, and I bow,
hush now, just bow.

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these scars on my arm?
I used to walk my hell with me
everywhere on a leash
and let it bite me sometimes
just to be sure it still hurt

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