and it turns out water
is only water. it may slosh
and splash, undulate, crash
and okay, sparkle, shimmer
gleam gold. or gray
in shadow, green in light
right down to the rocks
it caresses, rounding
here, near the shore—
or out there, sucking sand.
see, the dog will flail and swim
kicking up white froth, biting hard
at each wave (they never cease)
long tongue licking water
long-legged deliberate splash.
(no creature more prosaic
than a dog) so here I sit, done
with words. why bother noting
it dazzles? the boats drone on
and past, in deeper blue
broad summer is no time for poems
not with sunflowers nodding, laden
garden spiked with color
dart of wings and cicadas singing
rather, all this haymaking over dreams
while the sun shines
some poetic justice though, heart-pause
for rabbit nestlings in the carrots
…and huddles in the marigolds
a poetic exercise in wanderlust
red, purple, garden thyme
to reflect fields of splendor
a cup of summer water
The last page of my yes-words journal. Pasting in hard copies of the poems…then what should I do with it?
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
Reading Hafiz, “When the Meadows on the Body Turn Gray,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.
The plum tree, puny though in full flush
of summer, all its neighbors lush in sun-glow.
Limp-leaved, drab. Last year—remember?—
its branches heavy-laden, juicy, buzzing,
a jewel among backyards, good provider
of jam. Winter, amber in promise. But now—
Rest, my dear. Dream away
these sunny days, rebuilding your strength.
Hold this green and gold reaching from your roots,
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
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
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
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,
we were made to be held,
Inspired by Hafiz, “Energy in Sounds,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky
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…”