Posts Tagged ‘support’

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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In a vision, I saw the self
as white flower—
a many-petalled ranunculus—
a flower that opened and opened
and infinitely opened, reaching
beyond borders, beyond atmosphere,
beyond our beautiful spiral of galaxy,
its petals unfolding and unfolding,
a timeless, unending unfolding.
It comforts me to know
there’s no edge to the universe,
no way to fall off, no way
to accidentally go beyond.
There was a moment when
the green stem snapped and I worried
the blossom had become too big.
Then I felt it, how completely
the great bloom was held by the world,
and in that moment, I trusted that holding.
The flower kept growing.
Now, back in my body,
I’m still opening into that trust.

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Exactly a year ago I posted a message instead of a poem, explaining I needed a time away. Two weeks later I explained why. It was almost two months later I posted my son Finn’s obituary. In the last year, I have been so humbled by the love and support and kindness of people. So many of you reached out to me in some way, and whether it was with a letter, an email, a gift, a call, a prayer, your thoughts, a song, or your energetic presence, I am grateful. It has mattered. You, with your love and goodness, you have not only buoyed me, you have changed me. I don’t know how anyone would ever survive such a loss without such an outpouring. I thank you, every one of you, I thank you, I thank you. I am sobbing now thinking of it–all the love. This poem tries to touch it, but, well, it’s just the surface. I am swirling gratefulness around all of you. I honor your losses that have made you who you are, that have made you so tender and generous toward others.
With abiding awe, 

Though I Knew Love Before

Not until my world dissolved
in an instant did I begin to understand
the communion of hearts.
Not until I could not put one minute
in front of the next did I begin
to understand infinite devotion.
Not until I lost my own flesh did I begin
to understand the muscle of spirit.
I will never love the loss, never,
but I love the life that rushes in after.
I love the intimacy
of those who have lost—
how we find each other and offer
our open embrace, our unwalled affection,
our wildest wishes for peace.
Not until I was consumed
by the great wave of love
did I know not to fear
the great wave of love.
Only then did I learn the beauty
of ceding the self to something much greater.
Only then did I learn how love
not only carries us,
it transforms who we are forever.

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I want to give you the same welcome

that a meadow gives to sunlight. I want

to be that open space for you where you

can show up completely, can be brilliant,

can play. I want to be the container

that holds you, receives you, but never limits you.

I know these days are difficult.

I know it’s not easy to endlessly shine.

But here in this meadow, you are necessary.

Without you, things wither. And when

you are most yourself, your warmest

most generous self, do you hear

how the birds sing in response? Do you see

how green, how alive the world becomes?

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How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.        

—Annie Dillard



I want to spend my life

cheering for young girls as they learn

what they are capable of, learn

to trust themselves and each other,

learn to become a team. I want

to spend my life looking for new ways

to say, “I am thrilled with who

you are becoming.” I want to support

other women’s daughters, all of them,

some of them with my own hands.

It’s so easy, really. A glass of water,

a hug, a word, a shoulder, a nod.

And if days are our currency, let me

spend them giving as much love

as possible, though it sounds

like a cheer, though it feels like a pat

on the back, though it looks like

a bagel, a headband, a double thumbs up.


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for Phyllis



I remember the day she chose me.

It was fall. I didn’t know then

I would come to love her, didn’t know

how trust would grow, like catnip, like oregano,

more robust, more wild every year.

I didn’t know how I’d been waiting to be chosen,

that she would help me find the wings I’d never felt,

never seen. That she would dare me to fly.

That she would be the wind.


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The Dream Speaks



Some dreams are meant to wake us up.

Like the dream when the man approaches your car

and you roll down your window to ask him what he needs


and he speaks in words you don’t understand.

What? You say to him. What are you trying to tell me?

And he pulls out a chainsaw and thrusts it through the open window


and instead of recoiling, you try harder to hear

what he’s trying to say. What are you saying?

you ask him, still wanting to make sense of the man,


believing he has something important to teach you.

He is here to teach you some people are not safe.

And why is it your survival instinct is so slow to kick in?


At last you thrust the car into reverse

and swerve down the narrow road before launching

into the air and soaring, soaring away from the man,


somehow unsurprised when the car lands in a canopy

of trees. And you are unhurt in the arms of oaks.

When you wake, as you do, each time you try to return to sleep,


there’s the man again, his chainsaw reaching for you,

the evil snarl on his lips. Wake up, says the dream.

Not everyone can be trusted. Why is it so hard


to wake you up? How can the world support you

if you choose to stay with what hurts you,

if you don’t let yourself be launched?



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And when Montaigne turned thirty-eight,

he began to paint inscriptions on the roof beams

in his library. Words of Socrates.

Euripedes. Sophocles. Horace. Ecclesiastes.

Theognis. Epictetus. Lucretius. As if to keep

himself looking up. As if to remember

where the world has been. As if to know

himself as part of this glorious conversation.


And who have I painted on the roof beams

of my heart? Rumi. Neruda. Mira. Rilke.

Szymborska. Hopkins. Ahkmatova. Bass.

Every day, I climb into that tower and trace

their words with my thoughts, wander

their paths, let them hold my hand. Sometimes

they take me by the face, the way a mother

or a lover would, and hold me there as if to say,

Now listen. I mean this. I mean you.  

Sometimes they stand passive, and

force me to find my own way in.


These are beams that never will burn,

the kind that hold up the sky.

Montaigne inscribed Horace, who

tells us: shelter where the storm drives you.

And wherever the storm, these beams

are there. Meanwhile, the thunder, the crackle

of lightning, the scent of the coming rain.







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We are all walking each other home.

—Ram Dass



There was that moment before

I read the letter, when you

were still invincible, that moment

when just seeing your name

made me think of sitting at your table

drinking wine, eating fresh tomato soup,

and my heart rose up like a good little dog

and begged me to read the news.

And then there was the moment

when I read the news. And read it again.

And let my eyes unfocus on the words

as I felt their terrible weight

settle in my chest, on my cheeks.

How soon the mind leans toward the worst.

It is hard to reconcile the two moments

together, side by side as they were,

the one so exuberant, the other

so grim. I try to imagine them

holding hands as if to steady the other.

As if they need somehow to be close,

fear and hope. If you feel a hand

slip into yours and no one is there,

perhaps it is mine, reaching

toward you through a letter

I will always be writing, the letter

of how beautiful it is to be alive

in this world so we can

shoulder together what frightens us most.

How beautiful it is to be alive

so that even in our most lumbered days

we might meet each other, hands open,

and steady the other, walking home.



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wanting to be your lifeboat

when what you really need

is someone to let you swim





and if you live nearby, you may want to consider this public speaking class I will be teaching for the next six Thursdays through Ah Haa … http://www.ahhaa.org/calendarize/public-speaking-rosemerry-wahtola-trommer/

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