Posts Tagged ‘surrender’

Dear Friends, 

It has been two years today since I wrote you to say that we had a family emergency and it would be some time before I wrote again. Several weeks after that I wrote to explain my son Finn, nearly 17, had chosen to take his life. And it was several weeks after that before I began writing the daily poems again. During these two years, I have received so much love, and I thank you. I thank every one of you who has lit a candle, said a prayer, thought good thoughts, did something nice for someone else who was grieving. I thank every one of you who held me and my family in your hearts. I am so grateful. As it is, it’s been the hardest thing I have ever done–meeting this loss. I honor every other person who has lost a beloved. I honor every other heart that has grieved. It is so hard, and without an enormous upswelling of love, I don’t know how anyone would do it. Your words, your thoughts, your blessings have carried me, and I thank you. Thank you for all the letters and notes today and this week–I read every single one out loud. I thank every one of you by name. I am sorry that I am not able to write everyone back individually–your words matter to me. It matters to me that you reach back. It matters to me that you let me know the poems matter to you. Thank you. Thank you. I can’t imagine doing this without your support. 

Today our family decided to honor Finn’s life by going to the amusement park where we had a lot of fun as he was growing up–and one of my friends pointed out after we’d made our plan, “Life’s a rollercoaster,” and isn’t that an apt metaphor. 

As you ride your own rollercoasters, friends, I wish that you, too, feel carried by love. I wish that peace finds you and makes a home in you. 

with love, 

Riding Rollercoasters on a Difficult Day
The moment we entered the queue
for The Boomerang, we already knew
we’d be turned upside down and whirled around,
and by the time our chests were restrained
in our seats, we knew we’d consented to free fall,
to be shaken and twisted and then do it all again
backwards, but it wasn’t until the ride began,
clackity, clackity, clackity, clackity, clackity
it was only then, when we laughed
the whole time we screamed,
it was only then we surrendered.

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We sit on the carpet in the entry,
and Vivian balances her ring
on the head of the cat and
for a long time we stay like this,
speaking of school and friends
The phone doesn’t ring.
The texts don’t chime.
The afternoon light
seems to hold each thing in its place
like photo corners in a scrapbook
and minutes stretch into forever.
There is a wholeness to the moment
so perfect I almost try to escape it.
Instead I stay and fall deeper
into the pages of this simple story.
A girl. A mother. A cat. An afternoon.
The certainty there’s nowhere else to be.

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I am so far from the woman
I want to be, so far
from humility and simplicity.
I dream of clearing
not only the shelves,
not only the closets,
but also the cluttered inner rooms
that crowd out the divine.
Every day I search for ways
to best meet the day—
with poems, beautiful meals,
with songs, with praise—
so many ways to be radiant,
but I suspect all the day wants
is for me to meet it
and all that comes into my path
with kindness, with spaciousness.
In my effort to be good, to be whole,
I make it so difficult, this life.
The day doesn’t seem to hold
my exuberance against me.
It shows up as always,
generous as a new tomorrow,
quiet as dawn.

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Ode to the Sigh

Smallest of songs,
you give voice
to the breath,
a wordless expression
of sorrow or happiness.
You seem to say,
Yes, that’s how it is,
a quiet doorway
that leads to acceptance.
You soften. You smooth.
You signal a feeling
that’s moving through.
You change silence
the way moonlight
changes a room—
so slightly, and yet
from the edge of perception,
you say to me,
pay attention.

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One Willingness

like a dandelion seed
in the land of wind,
this heart longing to serve

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The Opening

If the day is a hinge,
   then loss is the hand
     that swings the door
       so that what I would never choose
         becomes my opening.
What I would never choose
   becomes the thing
     that makes me need to be
       a better person.
What I could not choose
   becomes the spring board
     to devotion.
       So let me open.
In this time of broken hope,
   love says to me,
     Be the yes.
       And if you cannot be the yes,
         then stop trying anything
            and let yourself fall
              into to the opening.

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Meeting It All

Even the roses today
are limp with surrender.
They nod as if it’s too plum hard
to keep their stems upright.
Can sunlight itself be drab?
It stretches flat into the room
like a tired cat that would rather
not be bothered.
And the vine ripened tomato
has lost its sharp red thrill,
is merely mush in the mouth.
Some hours, grief is so heavy
in me that even the chair
seems unwilling to bear me,
suggests I lie on the ground.
Yes, I feel the whorls of love
that swirl around me like
a thousand tender hands.
I feel them. And I need them.
Because today, the truest thing
is the loss that whispers, Hush, darling,
don’t move. Don’t admire. Don’t
reach. Don’t do. Just lie here.
Just lie here. I’ll hold you.

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The night is a poem
with verbs of shadow
and nouns of deep,
a poem I never tire
of reading, a poem
that writes itself
into my thoughts,
enters my imagination
like a Trojan Horse—
when its dark ink
overcomes me,
you’d almost think
I was happy
for the ambush,
you’d almost think
I flung wide the gates
on purpose
knowing full well
how the story
would end.

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Inside my heart is a gardener.

She knows eventually

all seeds planted in the heart

will die. That doesn’t stop her

from planting. And on a night

when she knows it will frost—

winter, after all, comes soon—

that doesn’t stop her

from rummaging around for blankets

to cover everything in bloom.

You could just let it go,

says some other inner voice.

Nothing lasts forever.

She pauses to listen.

Perhaps all she’ll get is one more week—

one more week of lush and unruly beauty,

one more week of riotous love.

It’s late and she’s tired.

She grabs another blanket.

Damn right, she’ll fight for it.  

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One Capitulation

walking in the drizzle—

even my longing to stay dry

shines in the rain

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