Posts Tagged ‘surrender’


Lose something every day.

            —Elizabeth Bishop, “One Art”



Lose something every day, the poet said—

and how I laughed the first time that I read

her words. My keys? My gloves? My place in line?

My favorite socks? A name? My glass of wine?

I’ve got that down, I thought, and shook my head.


But then I thought of passing time, the threads

of dates unraveling—and how I try to wind

them back, reclaim those squandered hours as mine.

Lose something every day?


And then I thought of certainty, how wed

I am to thoughts, convictions, faith. Instead

of losing them, I cling. Then they confine.

Some things are better lost—my rigid mind,

my prejudice, old chains of shame, my dread—

lose something every day.

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playing referee

between the sun and clouds,

eventually I take off my stripes

to be a spectator instead—

how pleasant

without all that whistling



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without a map

I row my small canoe—

a leash of moonlight

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Surrender is not like this highway

with its dotted lines and passing lanes

and its well-marked exit signs.

Surrender is more a dirt country road

where you’ve taken a turn

that doesn’t show up in the map.

And then run out of gas. And

get a flat. And then, when you think

it can’t get worse, you start

to giggle, then full belly laugh.

Yeah, surrender is something like that.

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throwing the compass

into the tall grass—

the feet giddy with possibility

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One Afternoon




Here is his ferocity—

how it opens him like a monsoon

here is your umbrella

fling it in the rain

let the flood rearrange you

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I tell myself this is how love begins,

with a grumble. A rock in the shoe.

The flowers dead. Sleet.

This is how love begins, with taunting.

With mud on its feet. It begins

when we can’t imagine loving.

It begins when there is no light.

This is how love begins. When

we’re too exhausted to fight,

and as we slump, a door appears,

and we can’t imagine not

walking through it.


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unable to hold things together

I open my hands, let everything drop

and feel how the world holds me

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Beside the highway,

the willows are beginning

to find their green

and the dandelions

have begun to spell

their golden praise

across the ground.

What more did I think

I needed today?

Some proof that things

do not fall apart?

Let me surrender

to beauty, brief

as it is, the melody

that plays beneath

all other melodies.

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One Unlearning




peeling away the film—

discovering how to sing

in a voice I can’t call my own

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