It wakes you in the morning
before the morning
glories open and gives you
the sound of your mother’s voice.
Life spreads itself across
the ceiling to make you think
you are penned in, but that
is just another gift. Life takes
what you thought you couldn’t live
without and gives you a heron instead.
And a dragonfly, stitching its way
through the milkweed. Life contains all
of your tears in a vessel
shaped like hands in prayer.
Life is shape, sight, sound, bone.
It whispers and sings and holds
you and you almost never feel it.
You push your way from phase to phase.
You think you are pulling, but you
are being driven.
While going about your solitary life,
one hoof in front of the other,
real life is turning the stars,
like mirrors, in your direction.
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird –
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
~~ Mary Oliver ~~
I could not predict the fullness
of the day. How it was enough
to stand alone without help
in the green yard at dawn.
How two geese would spin out
of the ochre sun opening my spine,
curling my head up to the sky
in an arc I took for granted.
And the lilac bush by the red
brick wall flooding the air
with its purple weight of beauty?
How it made my body swoon,
brought my arms to reach for it
without even thinking.
In class today a Dutch woman split
in two by a stroke—one branch
of her body a petrified silence—
walked leaning on her husband
to the treatment table while we
the unimpaired looked on with envy.
How he dignified her wobble,
beheld her deformation, untied her
shoe, removed the brace that stakes
her weaknesses. How he cradled
her down in his arms to the table
smoothing her hair as if they were
alone in their bed. I tell you—
his smile would have made you weep.
At twilight I visit my garden
where the peonies are about to burst.
Some days there will be more
flowers than the vase can hold.
~~ Susan Glassmeyer ~~
In a word,
she is empty,
untouched with inescapable beauty.
She is pure,
free from advertisement
and the need of distraction.
Within the slips of her land
there are fallen rocks still asleep
where they originally made their bed.
Her livestock craw without concern of time or where to go.
They call the ground home without need for a door.
No lock, or key.
Waterfalls find their way where ever needed,
Down the sides of the mountains green and
across the dirt paths
carved by wandering admirers.
The ground, this home, smells so rich.
The soil doesn’t stick or crumble,
it molds to the hand as the hand becomes one with the land.
For she is kind.
She is genuine.
We pilgrims come here to pay our respects,
And she repays us with peace.
And once here, you are home,
you find silence,
a glimpse of heaven,
A place where…
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