Instructions for living a life.
Tell about it.
- Mary Oliver
I love her so much I feel ok calling her “Mare.”
I am paying attention all right..
Paying attention to my tired skin and psyche as I shift abodes once again.
I am astonished by the friends I have in my life who are here, shoring me up and ‘re-membering’ my phantom limbs which now are adrift in their own orbit it seems.
I am astonished I still have the curiosity and capability to keep waking up and donning my favorite red lipstick as I re-enter the world to see what lights and shadow I see.
Here I am telling you about it..
Telling you the chessboard intrigues me.
And I still got game.
You have not danced so badly, my dear,
Trying to hold hands with the Beautiful One.
You have waltzed with great style,
My sweet, crushed angel,
To have ever neared God’s heart at all.
Our Partner is notoriously difficult to follow,
And even His best musicians are not always easy
So what if the music has stopped for a while.
If the price of admission to the Divine
Is out of reach tonight.
So what, my dear,
If you do not have the ante to gamble for Real Love.
The mind and the body are famous
For holding the heart ransom,
But Hafiz knows the Beloved’s eternal habits.
For He will not be able to resist your longing
You have not danced so badly, my dear,
Trying to kiss the Beautiful One.
You have actually waltzed with tremendous style,
O my sweet,
O my sweet crushed angel.
Throughout this whole year I have continued to return to this list entitled: “TEN QUESTIONS THAT HAVE NO RIGHT TO GO AWAY” I have linked you to here.
They are penned by one of my favorite poets- David Whyte.
Each time I read them I glean something- or- other that helps me feel richer, somehow.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain – and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
- Robert Frost
I am a boat.
Not a Chinese junque. – (my blood is too foreign though I do wish it wasn’t).
Well.. perhaps a gleaming and slippery, “Have a martini”, 40′ ode to speed? – (I’d lose the key..).
Maybe that great outboard motorboat we used up at the lake to go bass fishing as the dawn steam rose and we, wee ones still with sleep in our eyes? – (Oh, I did love the control!)
What about a catamaran? Sliding and cutting so deftly through..intent on getting ‘there’ FAST!.. The constant thrill of capsizing the thing?- (Nope).
I could be a giant cargo ship with all the ballast I’d ever need in rough seas.. (No beauty in all that safety and way too much metal. I’m not that fond of metal, anyway).
A folded paper boat adrift on an even pond? – (Not enough substance or staying power).
I will be a canoe.
My own ship carved of a tree so I will remember dry land should I turn toward forgetting.
It will hold one.
Two or three if I so choose.
My family and friends will have helped me carve the thing.
We will have sung songs and toasted it’s doneness before they hand me two paddles and I pause to bow (to them and it) before I step in alone.
I will push off the beach and settle my frame into the curve of the tended wood.
I will not look back.
I am not sad. I will cut the glassy sheen of the lake
And lean into my direction.
I pull the water to me
And let it empty behind.
The rhythm lifts me.
And the work is not.
I am free.
Destination is uninteresting.
I just stay with the impossible beauty.
In raw weather
I huddle in the rain and wind
Sometimes, just yielding to the whim of the lake
Because it is bigger than me.
In the morning with wet and straggly hair
I peek outside my parka.
The way seems clear
Though I do not know where I am.
A loon sets me straight
And my paddle meets the waters.
Part of upcoming book: “GOOD MEDICINE”
This is so good to read out loud:
By Naomi Shahib Nye
Before you know what kindness really is
You must lose things,
Feel the future dissolve in a moment
Like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
What you counted and carefully saved,
All this must go so you know
How desolate the landscape can be
Between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride…
Thinking the bus will never stop
And the passengers eating maize and chicken
Will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
You must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
Lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
How he too was someone
Who journeyed through the night with plans
And the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
You must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till you voice
Catches the thread of all sorrows
And you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
Only kindness that ties your shoes
And sends you out into the day to mail letters,
And purchase bread,
Only kindness that raises its head
From the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for
And follows you everywhere
Like a shadow or a friend.
I love Maya.
Everything about her;
Her GRACE, wisdom, compassion, fierce loyalty to her beliefs in the innate goodness of people, the fact she does not let people who practice false modesty remain in her home because she wants to be around those who know their gifts and are unapologetic about them…
Here is a gift for her:
A POEM FOR MAYA ANGELOU –
THE GREAT WAVE
A wave born somewhere
With no name
In the impossibly dark,
Curl of the wave;
Stray hairs mixed with moonlight,
Damp and unruly
Tended by MOON;
We had to wait
Until we were ready
With NO thought
Of turning away.
Did not yet speak
A familiar language
We were afraid.
She rode that wave
In the rise
And the FALL
We could hear her,
To ask Her forgiveness
For our tardy
Perhaps the secrets
With those roiling and watery waves
That VOICE -
Holder of each
And EVERY sound
Is too big for us.
The largest part
Stuck in our throat
When SHE speaks.
We are yet young.
On the surfboard
At the shore,
Made of whispers
All of Us
Into that dark
And a dawn
-With new air and birdsong.
Like to a tea party
Fit for royalty (Us).
For sweet change
Is to read
Between the lines
Her life. Her breath.
And impossibly precious threads
Of The Tapestry
On to the beach
(but not alone as She had to.)
She asks us
Never to lose sight
Of the rightness
Running in the blood
Of those who took
Out of RIGHT ous NESS.
We should look,
(I think she would say)
For our tribe;
May well be hidden.
Down some scrubby, dusty path
Traveled by few.
But find them
Crafting a spanking new
Stepping stone path
With Her pearls
And impossibly large
Of meeting rooms
Open to those
REAL – ly
The Great Wave.
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.
© Mary Oliver.
I wrote a whole post this morning..
And it disappeared somewhere into the country where computers grow and thrive..
Instead of having a drink at this early hour..
I sit down,
And begin again….
THE KNIFE- a poem
Is a worthless meal to make.
My knife is too dull.