My Universe

The universe is not heartless:
Millions of hearts are contained within.
The universe is not only cold:
There is warmth by a fire.
Tell me the universe does not think:
I point to a brain.
Tell me it does not care:
I say, some of us do.
O do not exclude what is part of the all
From its essence.
Do not see the lifeless and say
That nothing lives.
You are part of the universe too:
You are one of its features.
~~ Lance Jencks ~~

If You Knew

What if you knew you’d be the last
to touch someone?
If you were taking tickets, for example,
at the theater, tearing them,
giving back the ragged stubs,
you might take care to touch that palm,
brush your fingertips
along the life line’s crease.

When a man pulls his wheeled suitcase
too slowly through the airport,
when the car in front of me doesn’t signal,
when the clerk at the pharmacy
won’t say Thank you, I don’t remember
they’re going to die.

A friend told me she’d been with her aunt.
They’d just had lunch and the waiter,
a young gay man with plum black eyes,
joked as he served the coffee,
kissed her aunt’s powdered cheek when they left.
Then they walked half a block and her aunt
dropped dead on the sidewalk.

How close does the dragon’s spume
have to come? How wide does the crack
in heaven have to split?
What would people look like
if we could see them as they are,
soaked in honey, stung and swollen,
reckless, pinned against time?

~~ Ellen Bass ~~

Once Only

All which, because it was 
flame and song and granted us 
joy, we thought we’d do, be, revisit, 
turns out to have been what it was 
that once, only; every invitation 
did not begin 
a series, a build-up: the marvelous 
did happen in our lives, our stories 
are not drab with its absence: but don’t 
expect to return for more. Whatever more 
there will be will be 
unique as those were unique. Try 
to acknowledge the next 
song in its body-halo of flames as utterly 
present, as now or never.
~~ Denise Levertov ~~