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Posts Tagged ‘sweetness’

 

 

 

As I hull them

I think of the summer day

when Jen and I

rode our bikes

over Wisconsin hills

to the berry farm

and picked so many berries

we had to drive back later

with a car—

how hard it is

to be moderate

when met with abundance.

I froze the strawberries then

as I do now,

small red sweetnesses

for winter when

I will find it hard

to remember

just how generous

the sun.

Oh if that girl of twenty two

could see me now,

standing in the kitchen,

what would I tell her?

Nothing. Not a thing.

She has so much

to learn about trying

to save what she loves.

Better to just let her

see me as I am now—

red juice on my fingers,

red juice on my chin,

a pucker on my lips.

 

 

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Eventually you decide the scratches are worth it

and you wade through the vines into the thicket

where the berries still hang red and ripe and profuse.

You leave a suggestion of a path behind you.

Tomorrow it will be invisible, like so many paths

you’ve made. The bushes, like convictions, will reclaim

their wildness. But for now, there is this sweetness

to follow, this hunger, this pleasure in finding a way,

this drive to harvest all that the day has to offer.

 

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Ursa Major

 

 

 

Like the bear in the darkness

scavenging the campground

for chocolate bars,

I, too, long for sweetness.

It keeps me awake,

my hunger. I lumber

through these summer nights,

hunting, my senses alive.

Don’t let morning come soon.

I swear there’s a hint

of sweetness here somewhere.

 

 

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when I was four or five

and my mom took me

to a home where rhubarb

was growing.

The old woman there

cut the thick red stalks,

peeled back the tough outer skin

and then sprinkled

the naked stem

with sugar. The crystals

stuck to the wetness.

Take a bite, she urged,

my first invitation

to learn how

it takes so little sweetness

sometimes to transform

a sourness into something

we might learn to love.

 

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My son cuts the rhubarb while I
hull the strawberries. We sing
scales and talk about hacking.
That’s a lot of sugar, he says,
as he pours the measuring cup
into the mixing bowl. I think
of all the things I wish I could sweeten.
Just today, I kept returning
to the same bitter views.
It was like touching a bruise
to be sure it still hurts.
It still hurts. I think about how
the Dalai Lama might tell me,
go ahead. Pick up the burning coals
and throw them at the man
you think deserves them. Of course
the only hand to get hurt is mine,
but all day, I reach for the coals,
even now as my son and I
turn our talk to growing things.
This summer, we’ll harvest
our own rhubarb stalks after waiting
for three full years. I try to turn
my thoughts toward sweetnesses.
My boy. The honey of singing.
The way that the ground brings forth
what is green and vital,
year after year after year.
The pie fills the house
with a wonderful scent
as it bakes, the marriage
of sharp and sugar. You can’t
bake a pie without fire, I think.
I leave the coals where they are.

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they taste better,
the rosehips, after the frost,
softer and sweeter—
even so, it’s hard
to want the frost

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Sometimes for no reason
a sweetness comes. A pink scent,
perhaps, just beyond a fence,

or the particular way that a friend
says your name. It never lasts,
and it usually passes too quickly to name,

but for that moment the body opens
to meet whatever the sweetness is—
the way the low light moves across

the field or the fragrance of rain—
and though nothing changes,
the world is a much different place.

Imagine we could constellate our lives
on these points of sweetness—
such a different kind of mapping

that would be—a life not told
in highs and lows but in the subtler
tones—the times we turned our heads

or breathed in more fully, or closed
our eyes so we might better notice
a taste. The times our hearts skip

a beat, like tiny silent thank you notes.

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Standing in the cherry trees
all one has to do is reach

and there is sweetness,
red sweetness, dripping

sweetness, sweetness.
It will not last, but

standing in the cherry trees
this blazing moment

all one has to do is
open the hand, and reach

and there is sweetness,
not just pleasure enough, but pleasure

more than enough. It is not
a cure for whatever aches,

but it is sweet standing
in the cherry trees tonight, so sweet,

so red and so sweet.

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