Evening Poetry, March 28

Letters to My Husband Far Away
by Gillian Wegener

The house is not empty without you.
It thrums and bumps, the walls relax and sigh.
The water heater dutifully comes on, rumbles
with heat, waiting for your shower to start.
How many times today have I heard
your truck in the driveway, the floor creak
with your step, felt your breath against
the back of my neck. At least that often,
I've turned to tell you something,
or hand you a piece of cheese or a plum,
but it's two more days until you return.
It's just me in this room, with this plum,
with this good fortune, with this far-flung love.

You can find this in Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection.

Evening Poetry, March 27

Kindness

by Anya Silver

Last week, a nurse pulled a warm blanket
from a magical cave of heated cotton
and lay it on my lap, even wrapping
my feet. She admired my red sandals.
Once, a friend brought me a chicken
she’d roasted and packed with whole lemons.
I ate it with my fingers while it was still warm.
Kindnesses appear, then disappear so quickly
that I forget their brief streaks: they vanish,
while cruelty pearls its durable shell.
Goodness streams like hot water through my hair
and down my skin, and I’m able to live
again with the ache. Love wakens the world.
Kindness is my mother, sending me a yellow dress in the mail
for no reason other than to watch me twirl.

You can find this poem in Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection.

Evening Poetry, March 26

We Are Of A Tribe
by Alberto Ríos

We plant seeds in the ground
And dreams in the sky,
 
Hoping that, someday, the roots of one
Will meet the upstretched limbs of the other.
 
It has not happened yet.
We share the sky, all of us, the whole world:
 
Together, we are a tribe of eyes that look upward,
Even as we stand on uncertain ground.
 
The earth beneath us moves, quiet and wild,
Its boundaries shifting, its muscles wavering.
 
The dream of sky is indifferent to all this,
Impervious to borders, fences, reservations.
 
The sky is our common home, the place we all live.
There we are in the world together.
 
The dream of sky requires no passport.
Blue will not be fenced. Blue will not be a crime.
 
Look up. Stay awhile. Let your breathing slow.
Know that you always have a home here.

You can find this poem in Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems.

Evening Poetry, March 25

End Results
by Alice Wolf Gilborn

His turn for blood work this morning.
A routine test, but no breakfast, not
even coffee. Just twelve degrees—
I offer to walk the dog and after
the long ritual of dressing for frigid
weather, I plunge into the heartless air.
An orange cat crouched in the driveway
shifts its front paws; puffed up jays
squawk in the oak tree. The dog
stops—then sneezes mightily,
putting cat and cold on notice.

When I get back, he’s settled in his
favorite chair, newspaper on his lap.
Table’s set for one; a pot of water
boiling on the stove awaits its egg,
tea bag sits in a mug, a single slice
of toast is ready to pop. The radio
is off for once, so it’s our own voices
we hear, chatter we won’t remember
in a room warming with winter sun.
When he leaves, silence descends
like yesterday’s snow.

Eating my solitary breakfast,
I think of his small habitual gestures,
the way he has of wanting to nourish
the living: sparrows peck seed he’s
spread on the deck, his two feral 
cats feed at their bowl, at the table
I’m about to crack a perfect egg.
Sustenance of many years. I wish
him well, I wish him love, food
for our braided lives. I wish
all results positive. 

You can find this poem in Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection.

Evening Poetry, March 24

Blessing the Boats
by Lucille Clifton

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back     may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

You can find this poem in Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000.

Evening Poetry, March 23

Remember
by Joy Harjo

Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
are you.
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.
Remember.

You can find this poem in She Had Some Horses.

Evening Poetry, March 22

The Invitation
by Oriah

t doesn't interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon...
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life's betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn't interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
"Yes."

It doesn't interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

You can find this poem in The Invitation by Oriah.

Evening Poetry, March 21

In Memoriam
by Leo Dangel

In the early afternoon my mother
was doing the dishes. I climbed
onto the kitchen table, I suppose
to play, and fell asleep there.
I was drowsy and awake, though,
as she lifted me up, carried me
on her arms into the living room,
and placed me on the davenport,
but I pretended to be asleep
the whole time, enjoying the luxury--
I was too big for such a privilege
and just old enough to form
my only memory of her carrying me.
She's still moving me to a softer place.

You can find this poem in Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection.

Evening Poetry, March 20

A Light Exists in Springs
by Emily Dickinson

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

Evening Poetry, March 19

Time is Doing Something To Us

by Annie Lighthart

Time is doing something to us so gradually and softly
we don't notice for years,

and then the work is done--
we are older.

A craftsman who works this slowly
is a master,

and it seems unwise
to challenge that art.

Then what?
Then feel the morning air. Walk out at night

as if into the sky.
It is just a little while after all.

The tree you are under will tell you
it moved into time and grew deeper.

We too can do this.
The master leaves a mystery

that breaks out once in leaf, once
in clarifying fire.

You can find this in Pax.