Posts Tagged ‘vulnerability’

for my daughter

“Snuggle,” she said,
a two-syllable passport
to another world—
the world in which
she is more dream
than mask, more breath
than task, her softness
inviting my softness,
and I slipped beside
her dream-scented body
and curled myself
into her shape,
one arm draped
across her weight,
and matched my inhale
to her inhale, matched
my every exhale to hers
and listened as once again
sleep took her,
and she was not curious,
not smart, not funny,
not brave, but so deeply
herself, and how could I not
fall deeper in love,
a pilgrim in this realm
of sweet defenselessness,
the silken luff of our breaths
weaving around us
like a cocoon.

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naked in the catastrophe,
I smell it,
the sweet perfume
of apricot blossoms
wafting across
the leafless world.

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            inspired by “La Berceuse” by Vincent van Gogh and a song by the same name by Kayleen Asbo, with a line from Paul Gaugin
There is, inside all of us,
all of us, all of us,
a child who longs
to be rocked, and rocked,
a soul child who longs
for the old sense of cradling,
a soul infant, fragile,
so green, so new,
who knows only to trust
that someone, someone,
peaceful and still,
someone with patience
and infinite calm,
with a quiet face
and sober eyes
will sit beside us
in heavy-lidded moments
when we glide defenseless
on dim shores of dreams,
yes, someone, someone,
will watch us, will watch,
will keep watch and will usher us
slowly to sleep,
to sleep, though we fight it,
oh shhhh, shhhhh.
Can you feel it, the rocking,
the rocking, the rocking,
can you feel it, the rocking,
that never stops?
Oh bless the hand,
the patient hand, 
oh bless the hand
that rocks.

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Now since I’ve tasted trust in life
why would I ever
slip again into armor?
The armor of an insincere smile
sometimes as dangerous
as the armor of a sword.
Why would I ever try to know
what to say, how to act,
how to plan, when,
with zero effort of my own,
life itself will move through me,
will rise up in me to meet itself?
Of course, like the child I am,
I forget this trust.
I slip back into habit,
believe I need protection,
fear I am isolated.

But I have fallen in love with life
at a time when that might seem impossible,
and this strange fact alone
seems enough to remind me
to ditch the armor,
to cast wide my arms,
to unsheath my heart
and say yes, life,
I trust you, I serve you.
Why would I not trust life?
It would be like a seed
evading the rain,
like a sunflower
just unfurling
trying to avoid the sun.

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Sign of Inner Spring

Every year the pussy willows

astonish me with their willingness

to be soft in a time when the rest

of the world is stick-ish and harsh and bare.

Sometimes softness is the key to survival.

I search for it in myself—the courage

to shed the hard shell I thought would protect me,

to shuck the hard shell that no longer fits,

and I marvel as something new emerges,

soft as pussy willows, something practical

I can bring to the world,

this vulnerable, practical hope.

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Today I wish I were a potato peeler,

able to remove the outer layers of myself,

able to shave off any toughness I’ve developed

to protect, to safeguard, to shield. I want to give

myself to you, the inner sweetness,

the tenderest parts. I want to unpeel

any husk, any rind, any barrier

that would keep you from the heart

of me. I want to meet you vulnerably.

Today I want to take the long thin blade

and make ribbons of my resistance,

make strips of my defenses and watch

them fall like burlap veils. And if I cannot

find the courage to be the one who peels,

let me put the tool in your hand. I’m afraid,

but I am ready. Be sure, love. Be quick.

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no ribbons, no bows,

no fancy wrapping, no box—

you, the very gift

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It wasn’t until I had passed through security

and found my way into Concourse B

that I found myself sinking into a chair

across from a giant Vienna Beef poster

and began to weep. And once they began,

the tears wouldn’t stop. Nor did I try

to stop them. I had wondered in the ICU

where they were. Had wondered

again at my parents’ home. It was strange

to be so level—not cold, really, and not numb,

but oddly steeled. It was a relief, really,

to sob into my hands. To let grief take over.

To be a maidservant to fragility.

What a gift to be sideswiped with the truth

of our vulnerability. What a blessing

to be baptized in my own helplessness.

Over the loudspeaker, they announced

that a plane was delayed. As if any of us

really know when we’ll depart, when we’ll arrive.

When the tears dried, I stood. Walked

to my gate recalibrated. Called my parents

again because I could. Because I could.

In the window, I smiled at my watery reflection,

how it almost wasn’t there at all.



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Searching for good news? Enter Think Radio–a really cool endeavor hosted by Alan Wartes and Issa Forrest–in which they feature 30 minute interviews in episodes of Think People, Think Planet and Think Business. The videocast/podcasts are all focused on how to make a positive change in your life, in the world. My interview came out today–the art of changing your life by choosing your metaphors–all about language, frames, the brain, vulnerability and poetry. I’ve been listening to other interviews, too–Alan Wartes is an amazing host. Worth subscribing!

Think Radio featuring Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer



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tossing my gloves

to pull carrots with naked hands—

this, how I long to speak with you

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