Posts Tagged ‘work’

            for Kathy Jepson who lives and works in the San Miguel River Canyon
Some people are rivers—
always moving, always in flow.
Wherever they are,
life flourishes. They nourish,
they support, they sustain,
and they change the shape
of the landscape—
carving new paths around obstacles,
softening what is sharp.
Some people are rivers—
the lifeblood of a valley.
Forceful at times,
at other times gentle,
but constant, so constant
you could take them for granted—
like a woman with a headset
and a clipboard,
a pencil tucked in her hair
standing behind a curtain
so others can shine.
Some people are rivers.
You know who they are
because all around them
everything is growing,
everything they touch.
And you realize you can’t imagine
being without them—
everywhere you look,
you see how quietly,
how powerfully
they have transformed the world.

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            for Vivian
She with the shovel,
I with the rake,
we move across
the garden row
clearing and weeding
and tilling the soil—
how hard it is,
how heavy, and
how simple,
this essential work—
preparing for beauty

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Rubbing our eyes,
we sit in a small circle
in the half-lit room,
drinking whiskey
and eating potato chips,
still high on the glow
of good work,
and for a moment,
I see this night for what it is—
radiant as a Japanese maple in fall
blazing vermillion
against a backdrop of brown—
something so wonderful
it couldn’t possible last,
but my god, while it’s happening,
how astonishing, how right.

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Contact Joy

He cleans the base of the skis
with a fine, steel brush to remove
the old wax, his body swaying
above the ski, tip to tail, tip to tail,
so the micro hairs on the base
will lay down in the direction of travel
on snow. A fine copper brush
cleans it more. His movements
are quick, precise, a dance
that now comes naturally.
The only music is the sound
of the brushes, the sound
of his breath. There is no
laughter, no joking,
not even a smile, but
sometimes on winter nights
I walk toward the light
in the garage and watch
his body intent on its work,
and I feel the quiet joy
he finds in preparation
and the work of foundation,
and his joy seeps into me,
soft as the darkness
that holds the garage,
deep as the space
that holds us all.

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One Dream Job

            for Kayleen
rolling up my sleeves
in this grand beauty parlor—
help wanted

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Even on a Monday it can happen,

you step out of the office

and instead of going to your car

or making another call or running

to the bank, your feet

and legs conspire to move you

toward the woods where after

only ten minutes you are more breath

than brain, more here than anywhere else—

water drips in the creek bed,

sunlight pushes through empty branches,

and at your sides your arms swing

as if they were made for this.

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Push again the small dried peas

one inch into the earth. The gaps

in the rows where they did not grow,

do not take these personally.

Not everything comes to fruition,

but that is no reason to stop planting.

In fact there is every reason to believe

that not so long from now

the sweet green song of fresh sweet peas

will serenade your impatient tongue

if only your hands keep doing their work.

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One Humbling



in seven days

the radish sprouts

push green through earth—


every job on my list today

seems quite easy

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One Inevitable




looking for a place

to rest in beauty I found

a garden needing to be tended

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Goes for Play, Too

There is work
to do. There
always is. Me,
I make up a once upon
a time to go with it.
Add twists to the vacuuming,
hum to the dishes, turn
laundry into lyric.
For you, it is
more like math.
A simple path.
Do this plus do this
equals done. There
is not a right or
a wrong. There are
two, and there
is work to do.

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