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Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

 

 

 

And because she is wise

in the ways the young are,

my daughter, frightened and weeping,

asked between sobs

for a happy story.

 

There are times when a story

is the best remedy—

not because it takes us away

from the truth but because

it leads us closer in.

 

I told her the story of her birth,

and we laughed until

it was my turn to cry as I realized

no matter how scary the world,

what a miracle, the birth of a child.

 

Then, as fear made a sneaky return,

we whispered a list of things we

were grateful for, falling asleep with these

words on our breaths: cats, books, rivers,

home, family, soft blankets, music.

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Day One

 

 

 

“You know,” says the old man,

“all those corny old sayings are true.”

 

We are seaside in Bristol at a playground.

My children squeal and chase each other

 

and I am lost in global thoughts of should and should not,

forgiveness and pride, and who did what

 

first to whom, and the old man does two pull ups

on the monkey bars. His dress shoes and red socks

 

dangle beneath him as he lifts and drops, lifts

and drops. Mid-seventies, I guess.

 

“You can do it, too,” he says, smiling at me.

“No,” I say, “I can’t do it.”

 

“Today,” he says, “you just hang and pull.

You might not think you move at all.

 

Then, tomorrow, you’ll be a little higher.

In five days, your chin will be up at the bar.”

 

Sometimes we guard ourselves with an armor of no,

but hiding inside is a glimmer of yes that,

 

given any encouragement at all, will grow

into a willingness to be vulnerable.

 

“Okay,” I say, “I will try it.”

I stand beneath the bars, and raise

 

my arms and grip the metal and pull.

Nothing happens. “First,” he says,

 

“you have to believe you can do it.”

I fight to not roll my eyes, but

 

I tense my arms again and try,

and I move up the slightest bit.

 

He smiles. “You know what they say,

before you can take the second step

 

you have to take the first.” Again,

I pull up and feel myself lift,

perhaps an inch. For this moment,

 

I almost believe anything could happen, given time.

Like a woman who could not lift her own weight

 

could do so. And a nation that would not forgive

could love. And one stranger with a smile

 

and some old wisdom could open the minds

of the people he meets, one pull up at a time.

 

 

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