Sourceless Light

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Some ask for the world
and are diminished
in the receiving
of it. You gave me
only this small pool
that the more I drink
from, the more overflows
me with sourceless light.
~R.S. Thomas  “Gift”

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A silence slipping around like death,
Yet chased by a whisper, a sigh, a breath,
One group of trees, lean, naked and cold,
Inking their crest ‘gainst a sky green-gold,
One path that knows where the corn flowers were;
Lonely, apart, unyielding, one fir;
And over it softly leaning down,
One star that I loved ere the fields went brown.
~Angelina Weld Grimke “A Winter Twilight”

_______________

I am astonished at my thirstiness
slaked by such simple things
as a moment of pink,
a burst of birdsong,
the softness of fluff about to let go,
a glimpse of tomorrow over the horizon of today.

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How Do You Know?

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How do you know, deep underground,
Hid in your bed from sight and sound,
Without a turn in temperature,
With weather life can scarce endure,
That light has won a fraction’s strength,
And day put on some moments’ length,
Whereof in merest rote will come,
Weeks hence, mild airs that do not numb;
O crocus root, how do you know,
How do you know?
~Thomas Hardy from “The Year’s Awakening”

______________

Only a handful of days with temperatures over 50 degrees F and the ground begins to crack with sprouting bulbs.  They are emerging early, sadly misled that winter is done.  In any case, it is glorious to see them. I won’t be surprised to hear the peepers starting their night chorus before long.

The year awakens despite the darkness when I leave for work in the morning and the darkness when I return.  We are turning a corner, staggering and bleary-eyed, emerging from the underground, preparing to face the light.

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Things That Are Not Now

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Then we shall be where we would be,
Then we shall be what we should be,
Things that are not now, nor could be,
Soon shall be our own.
~Thomas Kelly from his hymn “Praise the Savior, Ye Who Know Him”

____________

Because I finished my term on earth
and had no knowledge of either
fear nor care, no morning knowledge,
no knowledge of evening,
and those who came before
and those following after
had no more knowledge of me
than I had of them.
~Mary Ruefle from “Marked”

_____________

Whether we are coming or going,
beginning or ending,
leading or following,
rising or setting,
north or south,
east or west,
one day we shall be
where or what we should be,
even if not now
even if not now
even if not now~
we soon shall be.

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Never Poet Enough

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If your everyday life seems poor to you, do not accuse it; accuse yourself, tell yourself you are not poet enough to summon up its riches; since for the creator there is no poverty and no poor or unimportant place.
― Rainer Maria Rilke

As a child, I would sometimes spend long rainy afternoons languishing on the couch, complaining to my mother how boring life seemed.  Her typical response was to remind me my boredom said more about me than about life – I became the accused, rather than the accuser,  failing to summon up life’s riches.  Thus convicted, my sentence followed:  she would promptly give me chores to do.  I learned not to voice my complaints about life was treating me because it always meant work.

Some things haven’t changed all these decades later.  Whenever I am tempted to feel pitiful or bored, accusing my life of being poor or unfair, I need to remember what my accusation says about me.  If I’m not poet enough to celebrate the gilded edge of the plain and ordinary, if I’m not poet enough to articulate beauty even in the sharp thorns of life, if I’m not poet enough to recognize the Creator’s brilliance in every molecule, then it is my poverty I’m accusing, not His, and a poet I will never be.

So it’s back to work then.
There is a world to admire, a life to be lived and yes, poems to be written.

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maplewings

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The Fog Rising

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Let us go in; the fog is rising…
~Emily Dickinson, her last words

I have watched the dying
in their last hours:
often they see what I cannot,
listen to what I do not hear,
stretch their arms overhead
as fingers extend and grasp
to touch what is beyond my reach.

I watch and wonder how it is
to reverse the journey that brought us here
from the fog of amnion.

The mist of living lifts.

We will enter a place
unsurpassed in brilliance and clarity;
the mystery of what lies beyond solved
only by going back in,
welcomed to return to where we started.

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The Air Crumbled

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It was like a church to me.
I entered it on soft foot,
Breath held like a cap in the hand.
It was quiet.
What God there was made himself felt,
Not listened to, in clean colours
That brought a moistening of the eye,
In a movement of the wind over grass.

There were no prayers said. But stillness
Of the heart’s passions – that was praise
Enough; and the mind’s cession
Of its kingdom. I walked on,
Simple and poor, while the air crumbled
And broke on me generously as bread.
~R.S. Thomas “The Moor”

 

There are mornings surrounded by His stilling presence~
when God is felt,
neither seen or heard,
overtaking me
within each breath taken,
following the path of each glistening tear,
becoming the ground reaching to meet my foot
with each step I take.

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My Hands are Torn

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My hands are torn
by baling twine, not nails, and my side is pierced
by my ulcer, not a lance.
~Hayden Carruth from “Emergency Haying”

 

Miles of twine bind up
tons of hay inside our barn,
daily loosed free of grasses
to feed the hungry,
the strings saved to bind again
in myriad ways:

tightening a sagging fence
replacing a broken bucket handle
snugging a horse blanket belt.

It has become the duct tape of the barn
when duct tape isn’t enough;
a binding substitute made beautiful
by morning fog’s weeping.

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Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

Before our Father’s throne,
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
Our comforts, and our cares.

We share our mutual woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.

When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.
~John Fawcett

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