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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.