clearing the field

Hafiz says I must clear the rocks
if I am to have any good of this field
so I begin—to be ready
for some future sun-flushed spring

rocks of resentment and guilt
at feeling resentment and some pebbles
words to fling about because—
I think you should understand—
a bowl full of pebbles to explain
why I feel and all of the above

(tell me if there is a place to stack them all
a monument to self-help and decluttering)

here is the rock I have been curled under, closed
and we might someday have it for a signpost
to carve the hard harvest or what should we give
to forget this bitter year?

the rock where the top is not so big yet one digs
and digs and two strong arms and intent
are not enough to heave it out
don’t say God must think it’s good for you
for what shape was the rock that left this gaping hole

and the last black rock, glittering with something I should be
doing differently

Reading Hafiz, “So You Can Plant More Wheat,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

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this softness

I want to proclaim it
to the man leaning and yapping
at the department store clerk
to the sheath-dressed woman
high heeled, on the phone
choosing bagged lettuce

I want to turn it inside out
spread it like dandelions
or honey or something
in a cooler hue, a green
slow rain, complete release
from striving

Reading Hafiz, “When the Meadows on the Body Turn Gray,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

contemplation 9: you stumble

in one glimmer of nothing, and how easy
—you see—to vanish, to sink in the same
darkness, illogic, as generations before.
no one knows you in your shadowing:
not devil nor demons nor angels nor men
(who wrote you off, and how long ago?)
—but will it be now, at mud’s deep
that you instinctively reach an arm out
to swim, that the air takes your lungs
with all the force of forgiveness?

Resonating with today’s Hafiz read, “To Make You Perfect,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky

contemplations 7&8: your wholehearted servant

Pick the object of your devotion—stomach,
brain—and call it your garden, say it is
for the sake of others; that the fluttering
leaves are your heart; that those twist-reach-
scramble vines growing heavy on themselves
(leaning, leaning) will someday feed thousands.

*

Life, I am your wholehearted servant. Or—
as much of a heart as I have left, is yours devoted
to shutting out tight these misgivings, which lean
toward a belief that my heart is, in fact,
a dropped glass screen. One minute safe
in your hand, the next face-down on pavement.
You know that sound: sudden, small, stifled apology
for becoming useless. How then the fragments
ingrain themselves, how eyes grow used
to a fractured view.

Inspired by Hafiz, “Pray to Your Hand,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky

contemplation 6

to hang up my hang-ups
my why-am-i-heres, not-good-enoughs,
not-determined-enoughs and why
would the world need more dreamers

we talk and you keep asking, but
could you get a job with that? how
many ways to sell my heart, make it more
marketable? i’m hanging up your doubts

alongside mine and hope
i will be less inclined to explode
if i pin on this belief: here is also a way
of being content

Inspired by Hafiz, “A Coat Rack,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky

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contemplation 5: so that you can

it is not that kind of exchange—
skill for skill, love for thanks

or even one small word of appreciation.
if we were all the little teapots

of the world—handle, spout,
bowl—we’d know

we were made to be held,
receive, pour

Inspired by Hafiz, “Energy in Sounds,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky

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contemplation 4

I am famous in these distractible parts
for half-sentences and thoughts un-done.
Listen: It is only a skipping ahead

past the boredom of a thing
once seen. The bloom is off, color fading
by the time it reaches your lips

Inspired by Hafiz, “Every City Is a Dulcimer,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.
“If I ever don’t complete a sentence…”