a day of sudden hard light:
we’ve grown so tired
watercolor gray, so
with each visible sunbeam
we anticipate snow melting
on the verge, imagine the bee-
house warming and all green
pushing from the other side,
touch to touch, still seeking
but tree-tough, immune
to frost, to blossom
You can read Frost’s “To Earthward” here.
ripples, or a Zen rock garden
the atom at the center
because we began
in the same star, light-
years ago, falling
(sometimes fall still)
but these rooms of reality
small (rocks, again)
catch us, safe
when we want to float free
Inspired by passages from Alan Lightman’s book Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine, pp. 53 and 55.
with what I don’t know about
trees, their loves and losses
intimacies with beetle and worm
higher math. how to curtsey in
and bow out, gracefully
to say no and graciously
yes, these distances between
and how to bridge them. why
a lover fades before your eyes
or changes, or you change. how
to get up every day, new
in the eyes of dog or child
to prevent disappointment.
why words come thick
(fast in your youth, in dreams)
then vanish like the bees
though all the scented flowers
lead like a jeweled trail
to or from your heart—
and all the silent waiting
Let’s say I am writing you a better story. Happily
ever after? Wait. Here you are, still tangled
in the thicket. Struggle, scraping by, grief
from earth to sky, as far as you can see.
You wanted a fairy tale? Wait. You are the hero
down, broken, sword at your throat. But. Any moment
the coin will spin. Let’s say we take you forward,
through the tunnel and out, over the walls…
So. In a low season, tag-end of winter
and time on our hands (an illusion), did we
feel two teens still at home, two rodents, a cat
not enough? Not that our love couldn’t stretch so
far. Did we need to give without guilt or fear
of spoilage? (a softening too soon into
grandparent-mind, accepting these unfinished
offspring as imperfect, and by our own fault.)
We begin again. Well. She knows a few things
about respecting furniture, sleeping through
the shortening nights. But see, how she needs me
and how I fail again in wrestling, running,
being best friend. Don’t say, unconditional
love. I am more than proof against those brown eyes,
their eloquent pleas.
stunned, chained—where is this cog in the great machine,
this puzzling piece in the grand design? is my part beauty,
remembering, simple love? how does beauty stand
against a landslide? how does memory shine
in a millennium’s weight of darkness? how does love open
one fist, finger by finger by finger, and then the next?
can the chain be fingers clasped, my one hand holding yours
or the children I give, having built them of love?
Inspired by Hafiz, “The Heart’s Coronation,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.
“The pawn always sits stunned, chained,
there is nothing but divine movement
in this world.”
what could I teach but to give and give
and practice when you can’t preach:
put off this skin and its masks, coat, hats—
yes, even dress, shirt, pants and all the jewelry.
what is there to shine but heart?
when the birds only drink of yesterday’s rain
can we splash through the puddles, regardless?
Inspired by Hafiz, “Everything in Your Kingdom,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.
“Borrow from your inheritance God has left for you,
This is the place to utilize gold,…”