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Posts Tagged ‘transformation’

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, 
Rosemerry



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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Any chemistry student
can tell you: a substance
that undergoes transformation
must first be torn apart.
I have been torn apart.
I have felt the breaking,
the rearranging,
and now the rebuilding
of my bonds. I marvel
at the brand new molecules—
how they transform
from despair to openness.

Though I look the same
and sound the same,
there is no mistaking
I am forever changed—
but not by sorrow, no.
Sorrow is the catalyst
that speeds it all up.
But it is love absorbed
that is breaking the bonds,
and love that evolves
as new bonds are made.

Some days I feel it,
I am less what I was and more
whatever it is that drives
the autumn, the spring.
Every day the chance
for love to find its way in.
And each time love helps me
to meet the unmeetable,
the reactant of self
becomes offering.  

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If I am to hold the world in my heart,
then let me hold it the way leaves hold sunshine,
trapping the energy not for the sake of holding it,
but to transform it into nourishment.
Though the process isn’t simple, it’s common.
All around the globe, in every season,
leaves hold and synthesize
whatever the day gives them.
On a day when the energy of the world
seems too much to hold,
let me bid my heart turn
like a leaf to the sun
and make sugar.
The way Rilke turned grief into sonnets.
The way Sibelius turned war into song.

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Aging


The wine in the glass

remembers the long days in darkness

how it couldn’t breathe,

how it lost its scent of grape

and became more grapefruit,

more green pepper, more grass.

How it lost its harsh taste,

lost its astringence, and became

rounder, more smooth, more

wine. I, too, am changing

in these long days.

I, too, am converting what I’ve known

into what I will be.

I, too, am becoming something

I almost don’t recognize—

heady with transformation,

yet tethered by memory

of what it was like

to feel trapped,

what it was like

to steep in that darkness,

to have to learn to trust

whatever came next.

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how quickly
this basket of stones
becomes
a basket
of feathers

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The glass vase on the table
remembers when it was sand—
remembers its molecules
of silicon dioxide, remembers
what it was like to be singular grains
transported by wind. It remembers
the heat it took to melt,
to lose its crystalline structure.
How intense it is to transform.
It is no small thing to know clarity.
It is no small thing to lose
what we thought we knew of the self,
to submit to a process that changes us
forever. This woman sitting beside
the glass vase on the table
cannot remember when she was dust,
but she remembers those nights
of falling with no one to catch her.
She remembers those days
when she begged the world to open her.
She remembers losing what she thought
she knew and how it was replaced
with the most beautiful nothing—
even now she is changing in ways
she could never predict. Even now
she feels herself melting.

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I throw in any tallies
I’ve been keeping,
the ones that record
who did what and when.
I throw in all the letters
I wrote in my head but didn’t send.
I throw in tickets I didn’t buy
to places I didn’t visit.
I throw in all those expectations
I had for myself and the world last year
and countless lists of things I thought I should do.
I love watching them ignite,
turn into embers, to ash.
I love the space they leave behind
where anything can happen.

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The swirling ash

doesn’t try

to be become

log again.

The flying leaves

don’t attempt

to return

to the tree.

The girl

can’t untwist

her genome

back into

separate strands.

The flour

in the bread

can’t return

to the sack,

can’t undo

the kneading

of hands.

In all things

lives a memory

of letting go

and the chance

to transform

into what

it can’t know.

What do you say

to that, heart?

Good self,

what do you say

to that?

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You need a rainstorm.
            —Paula Lepp


I need a rainstorm
on the inside, the kind
that relentlessly pours,

the kind that rearranges
everything, leaves nothing
untouched. I need a deluge

that drowns out any voices
that would offer easy answers.
I need a cloudburst to flood

everything I think I know,
that carries me until I, too, am current.
Have I gotten so dry inside,

so brittle and sure?
Give me a gulley washer,
the kind that scours

and remakes its path as it flows.
I want it, and yet
when I feel the first drops

I scramble for the umbrella,
as if it would do any good.
There it is, petrichor—

earthy fragrance of change.
The big rain will come when it comes.
There will be no stopping it then.

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IMG_0984

 

When it was a branch

on the cottonwood tree,

the driftwood never imagined

it could travel—

and now look at it, softened,

smoothed, riding the current.

Oh heart, what have you

yet to imagine?

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